Quiet, Yet Diligent Work of Many Improves Community

I’m happy to share with our readers an important addition to The Village’s family of services. As of Dec. 1, 2011, First Step Recovery has become a part of our service delivery system. First Step Recovery is a licensed addiction treatment facility that provides comprehensive treatment of alcoholism and other drug dependency. The guiding principle of First Step Recovery—that alcoholism and other drug dependencies are treatable illnesses that affect people physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually—closely aligns with the philosophies of The Village.

Since the late 1960s, when The Village began transitioning from its roots as an orphanage, we’ve taken a very holistic view of the challenges people experience in life. This has led, over many decades, to a number of mergers, acquisitions, and partnerships that are designed to enhance our ability to serve people and to make these services easier to access and more efficient.

We all know of the prevalence of addiction issues in our society, and the addition of First Step Recovery to our menu of services will allow The Village to better serve the folks who rely on us during tough times. We’re very proud of First Step Recovery joining our family.  They are an exceptionally talented and dedicated group of professionals.

Mergers with other local organizations have played an important role in the history of The Village—and these mergers have been led by an outstanding group of people who have served on The Village boards of directors over the years. Nearly a half century ago, because of the vision of a board of directors and their willingness to take some measure of risk, The Village merged with what was then called the Fargo Moorhead Family Service Association (the first professional counseling agency in the community).

At that time, our board of directors consisted of giants in the community—people such as Virginia Scheel, Frank Gokey, Oral Holm, and others too numerous to mention. That merger, which has proven to be the bedrock of our identity, was followed over many years by mergers with other local organizations, such as the Center for Parents and Children, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Nokomis Child Care Centers. All of these organizational changes—which were essentially commitments to a healthy community—came with risk, but were ultimately driven by boards of directors dedicated and committed to excellence. Our current boards of directors are no exception.

These past number of years have presented serious and unparalleled challenges to The Village, as well as other nonprofits. The numerous floods in the Red River Valley and across the state, followed by the most recent, serious recession, have proven very difficult to navigate. Yet we continue to provide unparalleled confidence by virtue of a dedicated staff of 250 professionals.  Over 75,000 people a year benefit from our services, the foundation of which was cast, in many instances, decades ago. This simply doesn’t happen without exceptional board leadership.

I want to take this moment to publicly thank our leaders today, who are no less “giants” than the ones I mentioned above. Although they’re listed elsewhere in this magazine, I want to list them here and urge you to take a moment to thank them as well. Our community and region are better because of their quiet, yet diligent work. They are:

The Village Family Service Center
Matt Leiseth, Chairperson
Lyman Edds, 1st Vice Chairperson
Michelle Powers, 2nd Vice Chairperson
Carrie Bjorge
Matthew Hallaway
Dr. Richard Hanson
Richard Henderson
Dale Mowry
Dr. Joy Query
Dan Ulmer
Shane Waslaski

The Children’s Village Family Service Foundation
Earl Strinden, Chairperson
John MacFarlane, Vice Chairperson
Dan Burling
Lyman Edds
Matthew Hallaway
Greg Hammes
Richard Hanson
Matt Leiseth
Roger Reierson

As a community we owe them, and their many predecessors, a huge debt of gratitude.

The opinions expressed in this column are strictly those of The Village Family Service Center CEO. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the organization, staff, or boards of directors.

Filed Under: Gary's Opinion

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