Volunteers are critical to the success of The Family Tree. Thanks to the help of hundreds of volunteers, we can empower over 22,000 people every year to be better parents, guardians and caregivers.
In this series, we spotlight one volunteer who has gone above and beyond what we could have hoped for, extending them a warm thank you for their incredible gift of time and dedication. It’s our great honor to introduce you to one of our most committed volunteers as of late, Stacy Kessler!
Stacy volunteers for our Family Education Department as a parenting class facilitator and has been with us for a little over two years now. Previously she worked with children as a camp counselor, a children’s advocate, and a teacher, so she has a wealth of experience to share when it comes to raising up happy, healthy kids – not to mention her role as a parent herself!
Stacy leads both our 10-week and 4-week “What Works” programs. These programs help parents become self-aware of some of the stressors they have as an individual, as well as those that come with being a parent. Stacy goes over communication skills as well as productive, positive ways to discipline a child instead of punishing them. Parenting can be one of the most rewarding experiences, but it can also be extremely challenging, and Stacy understands the stress that comes with being a parent, believes that all parents want to do the best they can for their child, and that parents have a universal relationship to each other. “The differences are the challenges each parent faces as well as each individual strengths and weaknesses,” she explains.
Stacy thinks The Family Tree is important because we give everyone a safe, supportive environment to share ideas and feelings. “The materials in the class help parents examine what they can personally make better. They empower parents who are trying to accomplish so much with so little support, and that is what The Family Tree provides.”
Stacy keeps coming back to volunteer with us, not only because of how important our work is, but because of the relationships she forms with the people in the program. She feels a deep connection to those in her class and to our staff. She is so excited to learn more from our knowledgeable team and always feels encouraged. When she was first starting with us, she was extremely nervous, but with support from her manager, Matila, she now teaches classes on her own. She spoke highly about our training program and feels this is why she has been effective in the classroom. The gradual release into her own classes has given her freedom to create her own style of teaching. She loves how the staff has always made her feel successful and the high standards they have for volunteers because they want what is best for the participants.
Stacy hopes that everyone in Baltimore City is able to be touched one way or another by The Family Tree, weather it is a personal experience here, or one of their relationships improves because of The Family Tree’s efforts. Our participant scope is so big, she hopes to see more connections with participants and more ongoing support after classes are finished.