Parting Thoughts As We Say Goodbye

Children’s Center’s staff and board are grateful to Rebecca for her passion and dedication to our mission. We wish her the best as she moves on to other projects helping non-profit organizations and professionals thrive.

Guest post by: Rebecca Nickels, outgoing Interim Executive Director 

When I joined the Children’s Center team in early September 2019, I immediately saw how incredibly important the organization was to the board, staff, and many supporters across Clackamas County. It was all-hands-on-deck as the team planned around a leadership and development team transition, as well as the upcoming Healing Garden Gala that was only six weeks away.

There was a budget to stabilize, positions to fill, and a new staffing structure that needed to be better aligned with the resources Children’s Center could count on.  The board was focused on transforming their governance structure, and new policies were crafted to strengthen Children’s Center’s day-to-day functions, as well as any future transitions. For months, we worked hard and stayed focused on improving many aspects of the organization, while also rebuilding trust and relationships with both internal and external stakeholders.

About six months later, I could see that our work was really paying off, and I felt great about the progress the team was making. Then COVID hit, and we pivoted to keeping our staff and clinic visitors healthy and safe, while also remaining available to provide the essential service of child abuse assessments. Our Clinic stayed open, therapy and prevention services became virtual, and I am proud to say that all our services were maintained as our community and the world adjusted to surviving during a pandemic.

Fast forward another six months and we found ourselves anxiously monitoring evacuation maps as wildfires rampaged Clackamas County. Did I mention we were also deeply involved in supporting the Children’s Safety Levy and getting through a rigorous reaccreditation process with the National Children’s Alliance at the same time? It was a whirlwind.

All of this is to say, my temporary assignment at Children’s Center was nothing like I had experienced before; full of challenges and experiences that I’d never been faced with as a leader and nonprofit professional. And, through it all, the exceptional integrity, work ethic, and steadfast commitment to children and families in Clackamas remained the foundation of each staff and board member’s work.

Despite the stress and exceptional challenges, I always saw staff approach their work with kids and families with a high level of positive, supportive energy. I’d like to believe that the people who needed Children’s Center during this time never would have guessed the intense challenges we faced because they were consistently received with compassion and empathy. It inspired me to continue to work hard, be creative, and keep going. The donors and supporters of Children’s Center have been unwavering in their commitment to helping every child feel safe, valued, and heard, and we became stronger and more stable because of that.

As I say goodbye to my role as Interim Executive Director, I am so excited for Children’s Center’s future. It has been my absolute honor to be a part of the team. Because of your dedication to kids, and because of the diligent work of the staff and board, Children’s Center will continue to meet the challenges it encounters, and the organization will thrive as a place of safety and healing for thousands of kids and families in the years to come.

To the staff and board, I thank you for inviting me into your team and trusting me to work alongside you towards a stronger, healthier Children’s Center. I am wholeheartedly proud of all that we’ve accomplished, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

– Rebecca

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