• News August 23, 2012

I always wanted to help children, but, unlike my parents I knew being an elementary teacher or principal wasn't my calling.  I also wasn't cut out to be a doctor or childhood cancer researcher. I always cherished community volunteering and financially supporting causes, but I had a gnawing feeling there was something else I was supposed to do.

Several years ago, the opportunity came. I was asked to be on the board of the 90-year old Los Angeles Child Guidance Clinic in South LA, an organization serving one of the most impoverished communities in our area. And through that journey, I've just been elected Board Chair of this amazing organization known for its award-winning treatment programs.

To say I am honored and humbled is cliche -- but so very true.  With a tough economy and healthcare reform changing the landscape profoundly, there is a lot to do -- and an unbelievable need.

Getting mental health services to the most needy kids -- as early as possible -- can transform their lives.  With the proper care, especially for those who suffer from trauma related issues, this can mean a child sidesteps the ravages of drugs and alcohol abuse, imprisonment, domestic violence (either as the abuser or the abused) and much more. They perform better in school, can build healthy relationships and can literally break the chain of poverty and abuse that has marred generations of their family.

The heroes in all of this are the folks who work at the clinic. From the social workers and psychologists who hazard home visits to dangerous neighborhoods to make sure kids get care to the clinic administrators who educate elected officials and donors on the need to keep the doors open, they are people worth honoring and supporting.

Whatever your skill or interest, I can't encourage you enough to consider using your talents to help others in need in your community. Ironically, you'll receive benefits in ways you'd never have imagined.

Read more here.