Wood's Homes Blog

The top 5 reasons I have loved working at Wood’s Homes

April 01, 2019
By Karen Karpuk, Wood's Homes Philanthropy Advisor
The top 5 reasons I have loved working at Wood’s Homes

I have had the pleasure of working at Wood’s Homes for over nine years, first as the Director of Fund Development, and then more recently as Philanthropy Advisor. And now as I retire from my career in fundraising, I have been reflecting on what I have accomplished the last 40 years. Without question, working at Wood’s Homes has been a highlight for me.

At Wood’s Homes I found an organization that closely aligned with my values not only as a fundraiser, but also as a parent. Every day I got to see the benefit of the work being done by staff to help children, youth and families who were struggling with mental health issues. Wood’s Homes truly is a place of caring and trust.

Fundraising, especially in today’s economic climate, is not for the faint of heart. It’s important that you really believe in the organization you are representing and can speak to how important the work is for the benefit of our community. That was never an issue for me while working at Wood’s Homes. 

As I contemplate my retirement, I reflect on the top 5 reasons I have loved working for this great organization.

1. The Never Give Up mantra – ‘We Never Say No. We Never Give Up. We Never Turn anyone Away.’

What a powerful statement this is in regards to Wood’s Homes commitment to children, youth and families. When I first began at Wood’s Homes this mantra spoke to me as a parent as I had often told my kids as they struggled as teens that “I was not giving up on them, so don’t give up on yourself.”

And I have spoken with donors who have the same reaction to these simple words. I believe in the power of this mantra, so much so that the Wood’s Homes Foundation incorporated it into the title of the last capital campaign and used it to brand the annual NEVER Give It Up Galas.

2. Commitment to Family-Centred Care

All programs at Wood’s Homes are guided by the organization’s philosophy of family-centred care. This approach has always made so much sense to me as a parent. It’s not enough to only focus on the child or youth without supporting the entire family. 

Wood’s Homes helps families manage complex issues, including mental health and crisis management.  It seeks to improve the safety, functioning, parenting capacity, and child development knowledge of families. It’s all about crisis intervention and prevention.

3. Evidence-Based Practice

Wood’s Homes began collecting and analyzing data from their programs in 2001. I was so impressed when I found that out when much of my work was focused on sharing program outcomes with current and prospective donors. Research departments are rare among non-profit organizations, and Wood’s Homes remains a leader in this field.  

I had the pleasure of leading the fundraising that was done to establish the Wood’s Homes Research Chair in Children’s Mental Health in partnership with the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Social Work.  The mandate of the Chair is to enhance the existing body of knowledge in the children’s mental health field and to develop new, innovative and evidence-based interventions that will further help children, youth and families.

4. Dedication of Staff

When I have spoken with donors about Wood’s Homes’ mantra, I have often talked about how the staff live and breathe it. Their dedication to the children, youth and families they support is evident every day. The program staff have inspired me in the work I have done to secure donations in support of the programs and services at Wood’s Homes.

This commitment to excellence is also evident with all support services staff. Whether it be the HR Department working hard to hire qualified staff; the Finance team ensuring all dollars are accounted for; the IT team that ensures all computers are operational; the Facilities crew that works hard to ensure our buildings are safe or the Administration team- the glue that holds it all together. And a special shout-out to the Foundation and Communications teams for their commitment to excellence in support of fundraising and the work of the agency.

5. Entrepreneurial Spirit of Wood’s Homes

Wood’s Homes is a community based children’s mental health centre, and as such, is very focused on addressing the needs of children, youth and families in the community. I have always appreciated how the leadership team at Wood’s Homes has been creative in developing new programs to address these needs. I had the good fortune to work on the fundraising for the Whole Family Treatment Program, an innovative, trauma informed, intensive whole family treatment intervention.

And more recently, I have worked on the fundraising for Wood’s Homes Inglewood Campus. The new building is now home to the EXIT Youth Hub, a one-stop shop that is dedicated to helping homeless and street involved youth, a model that is unique in Western Canada.

Thank you Wood’s Homes for the important work you do in our community. I have been proud to be part of the Wood’s Homes family.

With gratitude,
Karen Karpuk