2As a member of Heartspring’s Board of Trustees, it is often that I am reminded of the importance of our community taking the time to learn about individuals with special needs. And now, as I spend my vacation time in Colorado, I can’t help but realize it more. In a roundabout way, my connection with Heartspring is tied to Colorado. My brother, Vonn and his wife, Trish, live in Denver with their two sons, Andrew and Jack. Both boys were diagnosed with autism in varying degrees when they were two years old. As a family unit, we were not equipped to know what that meant, let alone how we might help. While Vonn and Trish were working with their professionals in Denver, the rest of our family researched and educated ourselves as much as we could about children with special needs and the services available to them.During this time, I was asked if I would serve on the Board of Trustees at Heartspring. When I met with President & CEO Gary Singleton and learned about the organization and its mission, I was sold on the opportunity. I could learn from the best and hopefully, contribute to an organization that was providing a much needed service to children with special needs and their families. Heartspring is so much more than I expected. The services provided are so imperative. I see this firsthand in the family members that visit our board meetings and tell us their stories. For so many of these families, Heartspring is their last hope. As a member of a family with children impacted by special needs, I understand exactly what that means. I’ve learned that Heartspring is so unique in many ways. With an entrepreneurial drive, Heartspring is consistently looking for opportunities to collaborate with others as a way to effectively improve or add new services. I see this illustrated in many ways, such as, working with interactive robots to break down communication barriers, collaborating with Kansas State University to identify ways that technology can aid individuals with autism and developing international outreach programs that provide the essentials in working with individuals with special needs. These opportunities, combined with the determination of the leadership team and staff, will hopefully continue the success of the organization for years to come; because, Heartspring is truly a critical source for so many families—mine included. Brenda KoehringHeartspring Board of Trustees Flint Hills Resources, LLC (Retired)LETTER FROM THE BOARD2
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