This week for our #SPOTLIGHTSUNDAY, we are featuring CSC Forensic Interviewer and MDT Coordinator, Karen Blackstone. Karen has been with the Children’s Safety Center for 20 years, and she has seen every stage of the center. It was awesome to read her responses to why the CSC is important to her and to the community at large.
It is your 20th year with the CSC, what is the thing that pushes you out of bed every morning?
Nothing or no one pushes me out of bed in the wee hours of the morning. Laugh-out-loud. I am older than when I started working at CSC, so I kind of roll out of bed with several grunts and moans. If you are asking me after 20 years working at CSC, what motivates me to come into work, I can say hands down “it’s all about the kids.” In addition, I get to work with some amazing people with whom share a common passion of helping children trust, hope, and heal.
I’m sure you have put a lot of yourself into your job, but what has it given back to you in your time with the CSC?
My time at CSC has given me a chance and freedom to learn more about myself, others and my community. I have grown drastically in that although I am an introvert, I can teach as long as I am passionate about the message I have to offer. Working at CSC has also given me the opportunity to learn about people and how they behave and communicate. When I first started I did not have great discernment skills, I now take what I have learned outside of CSC and am able to discern (sometimes just for fun) what others are trying to communicate or not trying to communicate which then leads me to know a little more about their nature and character.
In your opinion, what is the best thing that the CSC provides?
In my opinion the best thing CSC provides is hope. Without hope there is no purpose, no passion and no drive. Hope provided to clients served at CSC is what, if they choose to grasp onto the hope, provides them an avenue to understanding, acceptance and a definition of a “new normal” after a traumatic event. CSC also provides education to the kids to where they learn an event or series of events in their lives do not define who they are. Instead, they can choose to, use those events to help shape who they become.
How has the CSC changed in the last 20 years?
Yikes. This is a tricky question because with those 20 years I have aged and am now in my 50’s and my memory is not as sharp. So much has changed but then some things that work have not changed. Go with me for a moment down memory lane.
I can remember more than one time we the staff (three staff including me in one specific memory) didn’t know if we were going to get paid for the work we had done the two weeks prior to payday. It was then I paused and I asked myself if what I was doing was worth it. After that pause of maybe a half hour, a child came into CSC and as soon as I looked into his or her eyes, I knew. Yep, it’s worth it. I made the decision instead of working for a large corporation or company and not having to think about if I would be compensated I wanted continue at CSC where making an impact on one child, one family, one community was more important.
I am certain CSC blog has a limited amount of space so I will just leave this question because I could probably type a few pages of memories.
What are your favorite local places in NWA?
Favorite places to eat : The Steam in Springdale; Greenhouse Grill in Fayetteville. Favorite locations: NWA bike trail, JB Hunt park with my family, wherever my granddaughter and grandson are located, Devils Den, just about anywhere outside in the woods away from everyone and everything.
Favorite hang-outs with friends: Onyx, Mama Carmen’s, Kennedy’s Coffee and Pour Jons in Siloam Springs (huh. I sense a theme here :+).
Favorite small business: would be the Youngins (https://designsbyyoungins.com)
Thank you Karen for 20 years!