Family Intervention Services: Deborah Battle Celebrates 10 Years with LSG

LSG congratulates FIS' Deborah Battle on 10 years with the agency, and looks forward to many more! When Deborah Battle obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology, she was unsure of the direction she would go in so she stayed at her alma mater working in the Financial Aid Office immediately after college. Unbeknownst to Deborah, her best friend submitted her resume to NYC’s Child Welfare Administration where she worked for five short months. Unhappy with the idea of removing children from their homes, Deborah decided to go work for Little Flower Children’s Services where she quickly worked her way up to a supervising position. During her eight years at Little Flower Children’s Services, Deborah felt like she was doing more of helping families rather than disrupting them. This fulfillment made it hard for Deborah to depart when her family decided to move to Georgia.

While working for Department of Family and Children Services in the Foster Care division, Deborah met Kathy Sullivan who was the Lutheran Services of Georgia (LSG) Foster Care Supervisor at the time. Sullivan took note of Deborah’s superior case management skills and hired her on October 1, 2001. Foster Care has grown tremendously since Deborah started in 2001. The staff was much smaller, there were only three case managers and a supervisor and there were no satellite offices. In the ten years that Deborah has been with LSG she has served as a case manager, lead case manager, and recruiter, and has done agency intake as well as home study writing and more recently a trainer. Wearing many hats has been something that Deborah has come to appreciate, citing it as a way for her to learn so much and a way to never get bored here at LSG.

When asked what her plans with LSG were for the next decade, she replied “I’d like to continue to do training and working with FIS. I enjoy what I do, but eventually I’d like to be out of the ‘field’ altogether. I’m getting to old for the all of the driving.” She also believes that LSG is a Blessed agency and believes in the mission. She also added, “I am comfortable here; I love the people that I work with too. Sometimes I wonder if I am missing out on something when others leave, but then when I get to the see a child happy, healthy and progressing after they have been with and LSG home, the reward is immeasurable”.

Deborah has been an exceptional asset to Lutheran Services of Georgia and we congratulate her on 10 years of service with the agency and wish her many more pleasant years to come.

Foster Care: LSG Bids Farewell to 10-Year Employee

Foster Care case manager Kim Welsh begins new career as a nurse, but won't forget her coworkers or clients A bittersweet farewell is in order as Lutheran Services of Georgia’s Specialized Foster Care Program says goodbye to Kimberley Welsh, who has served as a case worker with LSG for almost 10 years. Kim has been involved in social services for more than 15 years, working with the homeless, medically fragile and teenage mothers, to name a few. Starting in New York City, Kim came to Lutheran Services in March of 2002 after working for the Department of Family and Children Services

Kim attributes her dedication to social work to the children she has encountered over the years. One story in particular that will forever remain in her memory is the story of a brother and sister. Since leaving foster care, the sister has had the opportunity to study abroad and will be finishing college soon, while her brother, who is mentally challenged, is doing well in a home for adult care.

“You hardly get to see the results of the work you put in so it was nice to find out they are one of those success stories you dream about as a young social worker,” Kim says.

It was not an easy thing for Kim to learn, but her tenure here at LSG has taught her that as much as you want to help someone, there is only so much you can do to impact the lives of others.

As a person who prides herself on being passionate about seeing results with her clients, Kim plans to remain faithful to serving others – except now it will be done in a different form. As she changes careers to become a Registered Nurse atPiedmontHospital, Kim plans to keep a close relationship with LSG and share her medical expertise. Kim will miss the close-knit family that exists at LSG and the fun times she has had, but will miss her clients and foster parents most of all.

Kim hopes to leave behind a legacy of her motivation and wishes everyone at LSG many more great years of success. On behalf of Specialized Foster Care, we congratulate Kim on her new journey.

Farewell, Kimberley Welsh!

From "Doughnut Dollie" to Refugee Advocate - LSG Says Goodbye to 30-Year Staff Member, Kay Trendell

Today marks the beginning of a new journey for Refugee Services Director Kay Trendell, who will be retiring from Lutheran Services of Georgia after 30 years of service. To honor her immeasurable contributions to the agency, we look back on the road that led Kay to LSG – a road that will continue to lead her to new experiences and adventures in the years to come. In her senior year at the University of Arkansas, Kay Trendell made a decision that would send her on path of service that continues to today. She heard about a Red Cross called Supplemental Recreational Activities Overseas, and in 1967, she began her first tour of duty inVietnam.  While working as a “Doughnut Dollie,” Kay saw first hand in the streets of Saigon the plight of refugees as the Vietnamese who had fled to the city for safety tried to scratch out a living on the sidewalks of the city.

After two tours of duty in Vietnam, Kay decided to take a break and travel to Europe. She’d had enough of aircraft, so she booked a ticket on a freighter, which is where she met a young merchant seaman named Harry Trendell.  Seven months later they were married and came to Atlanta, where Kay accepted a position with the YWCA.

But Kay’s experience in Vietnam continued to call her, and in 1980 she volunteered to help a local agency resettle refugees.  Then she heard about a new agency that was looking for staff for its refugee resettlement program, and in 1982, Kay joined Lutheran Ministries of Georgia.  For the next 16 years, Kay worked in refugee employment, and in 1998 was named Director of Refugee Services, the position she holds today with Lutheran Services of Georgia.

Working with refugees brought Kay’s life full circle, from first encountering those displaced by the Vietnam War in their home country, to then helping them to rebuild their lives here in Atlanta.  She has heard many stories of incredible suffering, and marveled at the strength of the human spirit that helps them conquer it and move ahead.  She has seen the sacrifices parents made to come here for the sake of their children, and then rejoiced as the children flourished. She has experienced moments of grace with refugees who barely had any food in the house, but would never let a guest go without a bite to eat.

Kay is bidding LSG farewell today, but her legacy will continue on through the more than 16,000 refugees whose lives were changed because of her decision to go to Vietnam to serve her country.  Kay and Harry, we wish you the best in retirement!

FACES: Reflections on the LSG Difference

FACES State Program Director Ryan Whitmire examines the motivations for his work and why Lutheran Services of Georgia stands out from the crowd Since the Facilitating, Advocacy, Care, Education, & Shelter (FACES) program for placing adults with developmental disabilities in loving homes first started, it has been our mission to create meaningful family relationships for the people we serve.  This philosophy is what sets LSG apart from many organizations that provide supports to people with developmental disabilities.

When I first started working for LSG in December 2006, it was clear that LSG was different.  Our meetings were focused on the individuals we serve and the matching process to find the perfect family fit family for referrals.  It was a pleasant transition from looking at potential placements based on an open bed and projected growth goals.

Over the last 10 years, FACES has successfully created real families and homes for the individuals we serve.  Our Host Home providers (caregivers) are special people.  They truly care about the individual and strive to assist the people we serve to reach their personal goals and desires.

Due to Medicaid funding issues, there are thousands of people in need of services, but have no funding.  One way you can help is to get involved with the “unlock the waiting lists” campaign.  With your help, people in need will get the funding and supports they need to start being apart of a new family.

Ryan Whitmire State Program Manager of FACES

Adoption: Lutheran Teachings Guide Us to Serve

We in the LSG adoption program recognize the journey of adoption for both the family and the children who are adopted. We also recognize it is a privilege to find a permanent home for a waiting child. Adoption is one of the many missions of this agency serving and engaging the community by bringing hope, healing and strength to people in need. This past year, we successfully transitioned all the families and the children from two other agencies to our adoption program who unfortunately had to close their doors due to budget cuts and the economy. In some cases, we accomplished this awesome task with no financial support with this transition. We are proud to say over this past year, we found “forever families” for 35 children in foster care which included seven sibling groups of 2, one sibling group of 3 and one sibling group of 4 children. We found a “forever family” for 8 infants in our cooperative open infant domestic adoption program and has facilitated ongoing connections between the adoptive families and the birth families. In spite of these accomplishments, we know that the work continues on because the need is so great for the hope, healing and strength that we at LSG provide.