June 4, 2018

By Kay Knox

To Know Us is to Love Us

To know us, is to love us (and our badass work!)

My dream is for everyone to get to know WithinReach better, because…to know us, is to love us… and our “badass love” for WA families!

At our Spring event, Experience WithinReach, earlier this month, we awarded Dr. Ben Danielson the 2018 Cynthia F. Shurtleff Leadership Award for his tremendous work as a trusted provider, a community advocate, a thought leader, and above all a champion for the basic needs of families!

During his acceptance speech, Dr. Ben said, “WithinReach represents love. And now I don’t mean this sort of passive, let’s all just kind of hug it out kind of love. There is another kind of love and I want to call it a badass kind of love. WithinReach is more the activating, pushing, standing-up-and-speaking-out kind of love. The kind of love that shows up as deeply respectful, compassionate for those in need, as well as marching in the street for what matters. A kind of fierce love.”

Yes, yes, yes! I could not agree more. WithinReach’s work represents love–fierce love!
The depth and breadth of our work is not easily described. Day to day, our “badass love” means we help families across Washington navigate our complex health and social service systems so they can be healthy and safe. But it means more than that.

At Experience WithinReach, our staff did a terrific job showing guests just how we help families build pathways to health and hope. The theory of hope tells us that we all need three things to feel hopeful: a strong desired goal or goals, personal agency or will to move toward our goals, and viable pathways leading to our goals. I can tell you from witnessing our work first hand that every family that contacts us has one or more goals, and most have the mental energy to pursue their goals, but ALL need help building viable pathways to reach their goals. This is where we come in — and what guests at Experience WithinReach saw in action — we help people build the viable pathways to health and hope. And, we stay with them until they reach their goals, and are healthy and safe.

As Dr. Ben described, Withinreach’s kind of love is also an activating, pushing, standing-up-and-speaking-out kind of love. I like to say that we work at the intersection of “urgent need and lasting impact” because we are devoted to meeting the urgent needs of families who reach out to us every day, but we also know it is important to improve the systems that families use to navigate to find resources, so we also work with key partners, providers and policy-makers to create solutions for more efficient and accessible community health and social service systems.

This Spring we hosted the National Help Me Grow Forum, which brought nearly 400 care providers, child development advocates and public health thought-leaders from across the country to Seattle to learn how to build a network that helps all children reach their full potential. During the Forum our staff hosted a site visit to WithinReach, and attendees learned about our role as the Help Me Grow Central Access Point in WA. The room was overflowing (literally) with people who wanted to learn how WithinReach has built the infrastructure and expertise to provide quality resource navigation for families in WA in a high tech, high touch manner that is friendly, informed, and responsive. It was incredibly fun to see so many people get to know us — our staff, our work, our vision.

I’m so grateful to Dr. Ben for giving us a new way to describe the power and impact of our work. Our work helps families across WA find the support they need – when, where and how they need it, and it builds responsive, easy-to-navigate systems of support – in other words, it is badass love!

Together, with you, and amazing advocates like Dr. Ben and our founding mother, Cynthia Shurtleff, we are honored to celebrate 30th years of fierce love for Washington families.