One of the nicest things about my work is that I am a member of an incredible team of experts. Whatever the matter may be, I have access to the knowledge and experience of what is possibly the deepest and widest pool of talented professionals available in the field of child and family services.

Let me share some numbers about the professional staff of Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home, our residential treatment facility in Ruston, to illustrate what I mean. I’ve worked for the Home for 22 years. John Allen, our VP of Operations, has served for 40 years. He has seen and done it all.

Take the individuals who make up what most agencies refer to as management – we call it our Leadership Support Team or LST. The shortest length of employment among the LST is that of Rev. Edie DeVilbiss, our new Director of Pastoral Care. She has been with us a bit more than a month. The longest is Gary Rambin, our Director of Residential Services at 25 years. Between them, the members of our Leadership Support Team average 13.62 years of employment.

Not counting our Director of Clinical Services, Dr. David Wheeler (17.9 years), because he serves on our LST, our clinical staff in Ruston average 6.87 years – the longest more than 12 years. Our Residential Supervisors average 10.45 years – the newest just over a year and the longest tenure is 16.5 years.

Consider our teachers at Howard School, an alternative school on the grounds of Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home. The shortest employment is 1 school year, the longest is 31.4 years with an average teacher employment of 8.5 years. The numbers for Howard School do not include Rick Sutton, the Director of Educational Services, who is completing 20 years this Summer.

Of the 62 employees I have referenced in the previous paragraphs, the average length of employment is 10.68 years. This group has accumulated 662 years of experience working for Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home and they represent less than 20 percent of our total staff!

That’s what I mean when I say we have the deepest and widest pool of talented professionals. They love their work, they love each other, they love the Home, they love our children and families and they love our mission.

I thank God each day for all the staff of Louisiana United Methodist Children and Family Services. I ask you to pray for them each day. Their ministry is not easy. Too frequently the work literally requires “turning the other cheek”. Pray God will provide us all with patience, maturity, wisdom, grace and compassionate hearts that can endure being broken in ministry to children and families.

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