How to create an engaged and loyal workforce through corporate volunteerism

By Ashley Juricich – Director of Marketing, Technocom (contributor)

“Take care of your employees and they’ll take care of your business,” is a well-known adage by Richard Branson, founder of The Virgin Group. It’s an easy enough notion to agree with, but how does an organization build value for an employee? Is it a fun office space? Catered Friday lunches? Cool tech gadgets? The answer is much simpler and actually more cost-effective than that.

Connecting to your employees goes beyond providing them with materialistic objects; it’s about building a culture founded upon serving others. It’s the growth and development of not just your company, but your community.

Corporate philanthropy is an initiative many companies are adopting because of the many benefits they bring to the office, their culture, and their brand – it’s one of our main corporate pillars at Technocom. Having your team take part in community projects helps energize and engage your office, promotes team building, builds leadership skills, helps attract and retain employees, and shows shareholders and prospects that you’re in touch with the community you’re a part of.

Engage your office

Highly engaged teams are proven to be more productive, are absent less, and produce more/generate more profit. Camille Preston, PhD, PCC of Forbes Magazine Coaches Council discussed this issue’s impact on organizations and found that engaged employees are often synonymous with happy employees. “Okay, so how does giving back create a happier work culture,” you may ask? Simple. Participation in charitable activities stimulates the same part of the brain that is responsible for the release of endorphins. A company that focuses on serving its community is in turn also serving and positively impacting their employees.

To read the CBJ article in its entirety, go here!

Professional Mentoring Crafts New Endings to Children’s Life Stories

Everyone can benefit from a mentor. Some of the world’s most well-known business leaders have attributed their personal success to the guidance, support, and encouragement they received from a mentor. For a large portion of Charlotte’s youth, having a mentor could transform their life—giving them a positive outlook on their future, helping them build confidence, and instill a desire to achieve. In many cases, a relationship with a mentor can be the difference between life and death for an at-risk youth.

In this PSA, Will Jones, President and CEO of Thompson Child & Family Focus, shares insight into this high priority need that is growing right here in Mecklenburg County and he provides information about the work Thompson is doing to address it.

To learn how your company or organization can support a professional mentor through a structured program with evidence-based, proven outcomes please visit www.thompsoncff.org/friendscharlotte.

Mentoring Programs Helps Kids Believe and Achieve

Life can be pretty challenging at times, and as adults we tend to rely on friends, colleagues, or even a therapist to help us navigate the course when waters get rough. We have the resources and maturity to either seek help or work through our problems. Now imagine you’re a six year-old kid…or even a teenager…would you know how to overcome these obstacles by yourself?

What makes us human is that all of us can benefit from the  positive guidance and support from others. For kids, this kind of assistance is especially critical in the years when their self-esteem and character are in the building process.

Mentoring is the key.

In Mecklenburg County alone, almost 1 in 3 children live in a single-parent household (mainly comprised of a female head) where financial stress reigns. Couple that with a myriad of other issues struggling families face and the impact on the children becomes evident in their schoolwork, behavior, etc. Programs that work to provide structured mentoring to kids can change these scenarios and ultimate outcomes.

When a child is connected to a dedicated mentor, studies have indicated that their self-esteem and confidence grows, they learn how to set goals for themselves and establish the work ethic to achieve them. Their attitudes improve, behavior is modified, and relationships get better. Seeking healthy interactions becomes the new normal. Mentoring can do that!

Thompson Child & Family Focus recognized this at the onset and as a solutions-driven organization, Thompson worked to bring a forward thinking mentoring model to North Carolina. The Friends of the Children program is not only highly effective, but unique in that it pairs children at the highest level of risk with a professional mentor for 12 1/2 years–from elementary school through high school.

The outcomes from this program are astounding, and the youth who were once ruled a statistic are re-writing their stories by graduating from school, avoiding the juvenile judicial system, and seeking positive and healthy relationships.

While some mentoring programs are designed for kids who have experienced trauma or more difficult family situations, others are ideal for children who may be experiencing bullying in school or who simply need a role model to look up to. Or maybe a child just needs math or science tutoring after school to encourage them and ignite that spark of academic achievement.

No matter the socio-economic status, ethnicity, or gender, kids can benefit tremendously from adults who genuinely care and have a desire to inspire and shape a mind. Whether it’s Friends of the Children you child or a family member may need–or perhaps it’s the Reading Buddies program–Thompson is passionate about providing help, access, and resources to our most valuable assets…our children.

If you want to learn more about the benefits of mentoring, becoming a volunteer or have questions about our programs, visit www.Thompsoncff.org.

Creating Change That Transforms Lives

It’s probably safe to say that most people want to feel happy and secure in life. Having a purpose and knowing your “why” is the thing that gets us up every day, ready to face the world. And relationships…perhaps THE foremost thing we seek as humans along with unconditional love and support. As life has taught us, the things we want or desire most don’t always come so easily. There are obstacles in life that inevitably come our way, and it often takes mental and emotional strength to push through.

Unfortunately, some people have bigger obstacles than others, such as those who are being challenged by mental health symptoms or who have experienced trauma. Adverse experiences, especially at an early age, can create real barriers in individuals that make navigating life’s ups and downs a seige. At Thompson, it is our job as a professional organization and service-driven community to recognize these unique needs in people (primarily children) and employ effective treatment that address the whole person. As agents of change, understanding how to process trauma begins with thinking differently and doing differently for those we serve.  

Mecklenburg County is becoming more and more aware of community needs by conducting independent resource assessments that can provide a more detailed, objective and comprehensive evaluation of a person who may have had adverse experiences. Navigating the Maze is one such assessment that was published in 2017 and highlighted several areas for improvement we can make as a community.

The issue of suicide was vital piece in the Navigating the Maze assessment because according to the 2017-2018 Community Health Assessment for Mecklenburg County, there were 105 cases in 2016. Data showed that 32% of high school students experienced acute sadness or feelings of hopeless almost every day for two weeks or more in a row. This prevented them from doing normal activities and interacting with others. These types of behaviors, however, are manageable and even preventable; but it takes individuals, the community, and well-equipped organizations to raise awareness, create a dialogue and act.

Thompson Child & Family Focus has been a dedicated partner throughout this process of growth in the community and is making strides in creating innovative mental health treatments and prevention.

Remaining on the leading edge by employing the most advanced mental health practices, Thompson views everything through a trauma-informed lens–from the direct care employees to the Human Resources team. Having CARE (Children and Residential Experiences) infused into our culture, adding trauma-focused and other evidenced-based models, and increasing our focus on early intervention is really starting to bear fruit.

Thompson leadership chose the CARE model to really have all employees ask– “What happened to this child and family, and what can we do to help?”, rather than just seeing behaviors on a surface level. Because of this shift in view, there are families now reporting an increased improvement in mental health gains; including the reduction or elimination of suicidal thoughts in some cases. Some of this is being seen in the direct work clients and their families are doing in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TFCBT). The current Thompson cohort being trained in this evidence-based model are seeing impactful reactions to the model, giving us all hope that the treatment of trauma can directly decrease mental health symptoms, including suicidal ideations.

CARE, TFCBT and many other models and interventions are being strategically implemented at Thompson and because we are partnering with equally committed community members and organizations, we will see the real impact of partnerships. We will see suicide rates decrease. We will see people working together to build strong, thriving communities. We will see lives transformed and witness people who have struggled with trauma come through the other side.

Foster Care Awareness…in May and Beyond

Foster care has been growing at an enormous rate. In 2017 there were over 10,000 children in foster care just in the state of North Carolina. Children enter foster care for a variety of reasons, but the highest percent of kids who are placed into “the system” are there due to neglect or parental substance abuse. This is where we get to work. Thompson focuses on building relationships with children and their families in a concerted effort to establish a foundation from where healing can begin. Add worship and play to the mix and the process of transforming lives is thriving. Foster care programs at Thompson offer a structured environment where the child can work together with a team of professionals to get the help that they need to succeed in the home, school, and community. Incorporating the family into the foster care plan enables the child to learn healthy coping skills as well as other enhancing their ability to grow and build relationships with others in a positive way.  

May is Foster Care Awareness Month and we would like to take the time to thank those who have opened their hearts and homes to help a child in need.  Here at Thompson, our focus is on strengthening the relationships that lead children and families into rewarding lives. Each day our foster care staff and foster parents work together to help our youth build healthy relationships with their peers, their teachers and other authority figures. Throughout the 30 years that Thompson has provided foster care services to the youth in Mecklenburg County, our focus has always been to help children lead happy and healthy lives.

To accomplish this mission, our foster parents are trained in evidence-based practices that equip them to provide support to our youth who have experienced trauma. Our foster parents are supported by our highly skilled FC staff who are qualified professionals that work hard to ensure that our youth get the well-rounded help they need. It does, in fact, take a village and Thompson is that 133 year-old foundation.

All children deserve to be happy and thrive in a healthy and safe environment. As foster parents, they are creating a fresh setting that will aid in the healing and growth of a very special child. And while foster parenting can be difficult at times, many of our parents feel that it is the most rewarding thing that they have ever done. Many also feel as though they are a far better person for each experience. Well imagine a hopeful child’s sentiment about fostering. Imagine finally feeling plugged in and part of loving and supportive family. THAT is what we strive for at Thompson—with every single child.

With the ongoing training that our parents receive, the learning never stops and they are able to apply what they have learned to helping those children in need. Our foster parents often rally together to provide support to one another by sharing stories, offering advice to one another and building a support network within their own community. Through the Thompson lens, futures have never looked brighter.

If you have a desire to open your home to a child in need , please contact us at www.Thompsoncff.org or call 704-376-7180. Watch our video here to learn more about Thompson’s foster care programs.