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Deep Roots and Happy Trees

It is with mixed emotions that I begin my last week with AK Child & Family. Eight and a half years feels like forever and not long enough, all at the same time. As I walk through the halls, I see evidence of myself and the influences I have had in different areas and in different capacities.

Take for example the photo of the happy tree. Several years ago, when I was a Case Manager, that was my contribution to a group drawing project. It went up on a wall in our Community Programs department, and is still there to this day! It makes me smile every time I walk by it.

I also think about the students I’ve worked with in my role as a Case Manager and in my role as a Psychiatric Treatment Counselor (my first job here!) and the ways I was able to effect change in their lives. As Human Resources Development Manager I have been able to support students and my co-workers in another way by focusing on the recruitment and retention aspect. The passion I have for the work that staff do at all levels of this agency has been a strength for recruiting excellent staff. It makes me smile when I think about the things I love about the agency and I think about the connections and things I have enjoyed doing while here.

As I look introspectively, I see evidence of the influences the agency and my co-workers have had on me. AK Child & Family was my first job post college. I graduated from UAF on a Sunday, drove from Fairbanks to Anchorage the following day, and began orientation two days after that! Not only was it my first job after college, but it is my first professional employment. I have done much learning and growing as an employee, but also as an individual. I have felt supported in making positive but difficult life changes. I have gotten engaged, gotten married, increased my family by 3 furry children (dogs), and bought a house. I have also lost family members, and experienced other times where I really struggled. I might have given up through some of the hard times if I had not had the care and support from my supervisors and the agency. I will forever be grateful for the support I have been given in times of change (good and bad). I will always hold a piece of AK Child & Family in my heart.

Through all the highs and the lows I have experienced and become stronger from while working here; I know this is not a goodbye, but more of a “see you later.” I have too many roots (see: happy tree) here for this to be as permanent as a good bye. Perhaps you shall see me again…