Expressions Spring 2023

This issue is sponsored by Pinnacle Financial Partners.

Volume XXI • Number 1 • Spring 2023

IN THIS ISSUE: More Than a Gift The Right Thing to Do

A Soft Place to Land There is a question that pops up on social media every now and then: What would you try if you were guaranteed not to fail? It is meant to help you consider taking more risks and to stretch into something you previously considered to be an unobtainable goal. As great of an exercise as it is, it’s not realistic. There are very few tasks, even simple ones like trying a new recipe, where you are guaranteed not to fail. Even tasks someone does every day with muscle memory like a professional athlete shooting a free throw is not guaranteed at 100 percent no matter how much they practice. I would suggest a rephrasing of the question: What would you try if you knew you had support regardless of whether you succeed or fail? Let’s go back to our examples—if your family celebrated your efforts even if the meal is not so wonderful, if your teammates supported your preparation and effort even if you don’t land every free throw? I would hope with that reassurance, one can overcome the crushing aspects of fear and give the task at hand their best effort. And when children, families, and individuals experience this kind of unconditional support, they learn how to give it to others around them. At DePaul, that is our mission—to help children, families, and individuals with disabilities know that we will support their effort and their progress. That we create an environment where neither staff nor those we serve feel like they must be perfect to deserve recognition and support or most importantly, a forever family. With your support, knowing that no organization is perfect, DePaul can be bold in our movements, brave in our efforts, and we can be assured that with you by our side, we will never stop striving to make a difference. With much gratitude,

Renee Brown President and CEO

Unsettled: From Hard Places Children deserve families. They deserve safe, loving homes in communities that welcome and support them. But children who come from hard places sometimes struggle to get what they deserve. When these children deal with complex disorders like trauma and attachment, how do they and the people who love and care for them have hope and find healing? Listen as we dive deep into trauma and attachment, meet parents who are caring for kids from hard places, and explore how communities can do more to support those who need it. Unsettled: From Hard Places is the second season in our Unsettled storytelling series. This series is our chance to share stories that have the power to inform, inspire, unite, and make change. Unsettled: From Hard Places is available for listening on our website and on popular podcast Have you listened to DePaul’s newest podcast?

directories like Apple, Spotify, and Amazon Music. Thank you to our Unsettled: From Hard Places sponsors Marsh McLennan, SEGRA, and Wilbanks Smith & Thomas.

More Than a Gift Story by Alison Wickline-Burns | Photos by Taylored Images

Nathacha and Candice, like other staff members at DePaul, take the work of hope and belonging seriously. They understand how life-changing it can be and that sometimes it can take them out of the office, out of homes, out of comfort zones. Recently, the work of hope and belonging led them to a family’s home with gifts in their hands

They quickly filled out the application for DePaul’s Bridge to Hope Fund, which allows DePaul to meet unmet needs and bridge financial gaps for those we serve. The request was approved, and because of the Bridge to Hope Fund, Nathacha and Candice were able to purchase and deliver gifts cards and get-well gifts to the family. “It was very kind, thoughtful, and much appreciated,” said the family. The gifts not only provided financial support to the family, but also provided comfort in a scary and uncertain time. That’s what is possible when the work of hope and belonging and the generosity of a community combine. The Bridge to Hope Fund relies on donations from DePaul’s supporters. Those donations make positive impacts on the people we love and serve every day. “This is about more than funds—it’s about connection, understanding, and support,” said Nathacha. “The fund makes a difference because the families and individuals know we are thinking of them and that we as an organization want to do anything we can to help them.” Learn more about the Bridge to Hope Fund by visiting:

and compassion in their hearts. They were there to support a young man who is part of DePaul’s Sponsored Residential program. Out of nowhere, he began having uncontrollable seizures which led him to being in an induced coma in the hospital. His mother and father were terrified, and doctors were doing their best to figure out what was happening and

how to help him. His parents couldn’t imagine leaving his side, but that meant not working. No paychecks would be coming in, but bills would still need to be paid. Nathacha and Candice could see the family was struggling and they felt called to be there. “We wanted them to know that we are there for them not only in a work-related role, but as humans and people,” said Candice. “It’s important that our families as well as the individuals feel supported no matter what.”


Spring 2023

This is about more than funds—it’s about connection, understanding, and support. NATHACHA


Spring 2023

You always know in your heart that you’re giving everything you can to make a difference in their life. DAVID


Spring 2023

The Right Thing to Do Story by Alison Wickline-Burns | Photos by Carla Funk Photography

David and Christy Reed believe in doing the right thing. It is what guides their lives, and it is what led them to become foster parents. They wanted to provide a safe, loving home for children in need no matter what. Before they started the process, they made sure their biological children were on board and that they had a strong support network. And they knew DePaul was the right agency to walk alongside them on their journey. “We took a lot of things into consideration and tried to remove as many barriers to it working as we could,” said David. The Reeds' first call was about a little girl who needed safety and stability. They welcomed her with open arms, promising to care for her for as long as she needed them. During those days, they learned a lot from each other. She celebrated a birthday with them. Then, the time came for her to go back home to her family of origin. It was hard for Christy and David to let go, but they knew in their hearts it was right. “It felt like the right thing to do for her,” said David. “Even though we loved and cared for her, it was the right thing to do.”

The next call was about a sibling group, a 1-year old girl and 2-year-old boy. They said yes without question, and the family grew. It became clear over the course of their time together that the siblings would not be going back to their family of origin. So, the Reeds committed to loving and caring for them forever. In December 2022, they were officially adopted. It was beautiful but bittersweet. “You are happy, but also humbled because you know what’s happening and what they’re losing to become part of your family,” said David. As the Reeds were finalizing the adoption process, they felt called to do more of the right thing. They had space to share and love to give, so they welcomed another foster child into the home. The house is full, their schedules are full, and their hearts are full, too. “The most rewarding thing is watching the children thrive in our care, hit different milestones, and flourish in our home,” said David. “You always know in your heart that you’re giving everything you can to make a difference in their life.”


Spring 2023

Your Generosity

in Action

Ashley and The ViBE FM Thank you to Ashley for their generous donation of three sets of sofas, loveseats, tables, lamps, and 17 twin beds for all of DePaul’s programs. This furniture allowed us to serve foster care youth and individuals with disabilities that couldn’t afford these necessities. We are so grateful. And thank you to The ViBE FM for connecting DePaul and Ashley for these life-changing gifts.

Community Foundation Serving Western Virginia

The Community Foundation Serving Western Virginia has generously awarded a $7,500 grant from the Community Catalyst Funds to DePaul for our Bridge to Hope Fund in Roanoke. The Bridge to Hope Fund bridges the gap for many children, families, and individuals with disabilities who are at a crossroads in their lives and need help. For someone like Cat, a youth in our Independent Living program that aged out of foster care, this fund can purchase a laptop she can’t afford. Then, Cat can start community college classes and work toward her future. For children like Bentley, a creative and funny 10-year-old with autism, this fund can be the difference in him getting the support he needs in DePaul’s counseling services. This grant and all Bridge to Hope donations are utilized to meet critical needs of children in foster care, families in crisis, and individuals with disabilities that are vulnerable and need support.

Your Generosity

Will Change Lives

Your donation, big or small, can change lives at DePaul. ❤ $50 can help a family afford an insurance copay they just don’t have. ❤ $100 will purchase safety equipment for an individual with a disability. ❤ $500 will help a youth who has grown up in foster care learn how to drive.

Please consider a gift today and invest in hope and belonging for a child, a family, or an individual that needs your support.

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