Our commonwealth and LUK’s continued work in offering mutual support
I was standing in the check-out line at Market Basket this week and looked around at the other people waiting in the cashier lines. I realized that I knew nothing of the problems they face in their daily lives. In our frequent interactions with other people, we rarely have the opportunity to ask, explore, or understand the struggles that people encounter. Life's journey can be filled with deep troubles and inequities that are painful to bear. Some children are exposed to violence, sexual assaults, or chronic neglect. Some people struggle with depression, anxiety, fatigue, mania, addiction to alcohol, pain killers, or illegal substances. Some are victimized by domestic violence. Others face hunger, want or deep poverty. Others bear social isolation, stigma, or discrimination.
As another Thanksgiving approaches, I am grateful to work at a community-based agency that opens its doors to allow people a chance to confront their deep challenges and find a safer, healthier, and more hopeful future!
LUK, Inc. was founded 44 years ago with the mission of challenging and supporting persons to find their unique potential. Grounded in the value that all members of our community have dignity and self-worth, LUK has grown to be a regional social service agency in Central Massachusetts that offers flexible, quality services. We meet people’s needs through an array of critical services including foster care, residential care, mental health and addiction treatment, youth mentorship, housing supports for homeless youth, and skill building for children with psychological or intellectual disabilities. We have the privilege of exploring people's struggles and supporting them in ways that address challenges.
During this Thanksgiving season, I am reminded that LUK’s mission is grounded in the culture of Massachusetts and our history of ensuring the commonwealth of our communities. LUK works every day to offer mutual support to our neighbors. LUK’s mission echoes the ideas and values from one of America’s leading Puritans. In 1630, John Winthrop noted a community value in mutual support:
"For this end, we must be knit together in this work… we must be willing to abridge our selves of our superfluities for the supply of others' necessities… We must delight in each other, make others’ conditions our own, rejoice together, mourn together, labor and suffer together, always having before our eyes our commission and community in the work, our community as members of the same body. So shall we keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.”
LUK is an accountable and transparent organization that offers significant impacts for the children, families, and adults we serve. In 2014:
- LUK served over 2,100 children and over 580 adults;
- We kept over 280 children and youth safe and nurtured in our community foster homes;
- LUK offered residential care to over 180 adolescents needing assessment, treatment, and independent living skills;
- We offered counseling or treatment to over 1,400 youth and adults with mental health or substance abuse disabilities;
- We engaged 150 youth in adventure-based (outdoor) activities to build trusting relationships and social skills; and
- We collaborated with the Department of Children and Families, the University of Massachusetts Medical School, JRI, and Boston Medical Center through the Massachusetts Child Trauma Project and trained over 450 Clinical Staff in 45 different mental health agencies from the Cape to Pittsfield!
One of LUK’s greatest values, is our ability to be an organization that responds to complex struggles to improve the safety of children, the healthy functioning of families, and the emotional well-being of our neighbors.
I am so grateful for the opportunity to help lead LUK, and I am sincerely humbled and grateful for the support we receive from communities in Central Massachusetts. If you are considering making a donation to a local charity this Thanksgiving or holiday season, I would invite you to consider LUK as a worthy candidate. Please consider making an end-of-the year donation to LUK, Inc. If you require more information about our work, strategic directions, or fiscal management, I hope you will contact me.
Rich Hooks Wayman, CEO
November 14, 2014