by Sela Mao, Children’s Future Communications Associate
Children’s Future staff members and children were really excited to welcome executive director Melissa Theesen and board member Sue Shalley to Cambodia. Sue and Melissa were very proud to see how well the Children’s Future center is doing. Sue stated she “didn’t realize how comprehensive and customized the solutions are for every child”. She was amazed to see how well Children’s Future helps the children in and outside of the facility.
Prior to visiting the school, Sue only saw photos that did not give her a full idea of how the students lived. When visiting, she became familiar with how poor and rural the area was. After visiting, Sue noted that the center is well and efficiently run and the care that is given to the children shows the dedication of the staff. Sue states, “The teachers do a wonderful job and are very committed to helping each student thrive. I was able to watch a teacher’s’ weekly meeting and it was a collaboration between all of them discussing which students deserved congratulations, which were struggling or needed special attention. It was very powerful.” She is proud of the staff because no matter what role they have, they all pitch in to help the children.
The trip to Cambodia demonstrated how “world class and powerful” the Children’s Future programs are. “The leadership team is remarkable and all of the staff members are kind, funny and committed to the families and children.” The staff members live the Children’s Future culture and work hard to make sure the children are doing their best and receiving the best aide. “The social workers, health care team, and teachers provide sophisticated and careful attention that is customized for each child. Every aspect of the family and children is taken into consideration and then carefully evaluated.” Sue believes that Children’s Future is “truly changing lives and offering care, hope, and possibilities to all of our constituents”.
Melissa, our Executive Director, was very excited to see how well our team is operating and our programs are running. She met the new healthcare staff and intern, Channy and Chantoeun. Channy has done a great job negotiating free health care services for the children from local clinics. She also empowers the children by educating, preventing and treating health issues that arise. Since Melissa’s last visit, she noticed dramatic growth in the behavioral management system. Melissa witnessed a “new level of confidence at the Learning Center and looks forward to seeing continued growth”.
Melissa’s was very excited to see one of Children’s Future’s new programs, the independent living young adults program. She was amazed to see how well the children were doing. They all supported each other, learn together and the results is an obvious increase in their confidence and maturity. She would like to see this program expand so that Children’s Future can help children transition into adulthood.
Melissa is very happy to see Children’s Future continually grow to be a strong organization and community; she says that “year after year students and families evolve in thoughtful and innovative ways”. She is amazed at how much progress Children’s Future has made even though it opened about five years ago. She notes that the teachers are thoughtful and creative and the social workers are ready to respond whenever needed.
Both of our Children’s Future members have left Cambodia having enriching experiences. Sue enjoyed meeting all of the students and watching them play, learn, participate and show so much enthusiasm. The smiles of the students have been very heart-warming to her and she even received a handmade souvenir from one student that she deeply treasures. Melissa noted that she received a huge welcome from the staff and children and she was very happy to be with her team.
We would like to thank Melissa and Sue so much for their time and attention to everything and we wish them well. The Children’s Future staff and children appreciate all that they do and are very grateful to have such wonderful members supporting us.
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