A Message From Our Executive Director

April 10, 2020

Today we are faced with anxiety and uncertainty. We have questions about our future and the new reality each one of us will face. We feel like we are experiencing on ongoing earthquake that never stops shaking and changing things.

Ironically at Abbott House we are helping children who have lived with this feeling of vulnerability for much of their lives. Not a feeling of vulnerability about a virus, but a feeling of uncertainty about their lives. You see, children who have lived through abuse, neglect and other negative events understand the feeling of life being out of control.

In our programs we see the fallout from these life events. Even in this time of uncertainty, we continue to work hard to provide safety and stability for our young people and our staff. We know that during times of sickness and dramatic change, our own children need us more than ever. It is the same for the young people in our care. Our commitment to South Dakota children has never been stronger thanks to the dedicated Abbott House employees who are working tirelessly to maintain a sense of normalcy for our youth.

Our residential treatment program is operating as usual with girls attending school and living in our treatment facility like they always do. They miss seeing the many volunteers who come to tutor, entertain or educate them, but they understand limiting visitors will keep them safe. In our Bridges therapeutic foster homes in Rapid City and Mitchell, we are above capacity. There are so many children who need a family and a safe home right now. Our foster parents are truly amazing. Every one of our homes is operating like a “home school,” with scheduled class times and study times for each home so our young people can adequately access computers and other technology to complete classroom assignments. They are having virtual visits with social workers and coordinating telehealth with counselors.

Perhaps the students who are struggling the most are those who are no longer employed. Some of our foster children and our young adults in the independent living program lost their jobs due to the situation. Because of these hardships, we have waived rent for all of our independent living occupants and are helping to pay for their basic needs such as food, medicine, clothing, transportation, and other basic needs while also offering encouragement during this difficult time.

Yet, despite all of these challenges, our amazing and dedicated staff continues to encourage and support each other, while serving our youth and families with understanding and compassion. We know there are still challenging weeks ahead.

We cannot do this alone. The financial burden being felt by so many is also persistent at Abbott House. If you would like to help the youth and our staff with necessary masks, groceries, transportation and other medical needs, please use the following link to give online.

Donate

Thank you for helping during this challenging time. We will get through this TOGETHER and we will be stronger in the end.

Stay safe and healthy,

Eric Klooz
Executive Director