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Strengthening a Culture of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

In December 2021, Allendale established a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee to invite conversations that would celebrate diversity of both ideas and culture, foster an environment that is inclusive and welcoming and promote the ideals of equitable access to services throughout our system – a vision set forth by Allendale’s Board of Trustees. As a leader in the health and human services sector, Allendale is committed to meeting the needs of our diverse community of children, adolescents, and families. It is our belief that our staff, foster families, volunteers, and Board of Trustees should reflect the community we serve to best understand and support their needs and goals. The DEI committee is comprised of representatives across all Allendale departments, with the goal of ensuring all in our community have equitable access to high quality services and feel a sense of true belonging to the Allendale community.

Diversity, equity and inclusion – the heart of our work at Allendale.

We believe that diversity of perspectives, as well as the cultural diversity of staff, foster families, volunteers, and the Board of Trustees strengthens our ability to achieve the mission and vision of the agency. Diversity enables Allendale to live our core values of safety, connection, voice, learning, innovation, and empowerment.

DEI committee member and Allendale Trustee, Dr. Dennis Munk, shares that “the opportunity to work with colleagues in the area of equity and inclusion at Carthage College allowed me to develop a much deeper understanding of how policies, practices, and our individual interactions can enhance or hinder the sense of belonging for all members of a community. With 125 years of experience nurturing the hope and healing of children, youth, and families, the Allendale community is poised to deepen our understanding of equity and inclusiveness and to emphasize their importance in the lives of our staff and the children and families they support. The DEI Committee provides a rich opportunity for us to learn and advocate together.”

DEI committee members have been hard at work bringing conversations to our colleagues and youth through a series of events over the last several months. Recent events included:

  • Window decorating event in honor of Martin Luther King Day (March)
  • Cinco de Mayo food truck event for an all-staff appreciation, in collaboration with the HR department (May)
  • Pride flag-raising ceremony, in collaboration with Allendale Student Council and staff also walked in the Lake County Pride parade (June)
  • Educational bulletin boards & Juneteenth Flag were posted and displayed on our campus, honoring Juneteenth “Freedom Day” (June)

In the coming months, the DEI Committee plans to focus on important educational opportunities with topics such as the importance of allyship, inclusion of those with physical disabilities and campus-wide awareness of inclusivity and belonging.

Allendale inspires a culture of diversity through active conversation and idea-sharing.

DEI Committee Co-Chairs, Jordan Debbink-Lesniak & Laura Craemer Rasch, express their “sincere appreciation to committee members for their active participation, commitment and passion for this important work!”

Thank you to our 2022 DEI Committee Members:

Asia Becton, Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, Residential Services
Connie Borucki, Chief Operating Officer
Jill Cioromksi, School Psychologist, Educational Services
Rodney Clinkscales, Teacher’s Aide, Educational Services
Tamara Conley, Volunteer & Donor Relations Coordinator, Volunteer Services
Laura Craemer Rasch, Director, Program Development
Amy Cwiklinski, Therapist, Outpatient Services
Jordan Debbink-Lesniak, Director, Development & Public Relations
Rhiannon Farner, Sr. Accounts Payable Specialist, Finance & Business Services
Sheridan Frank, Family Development Specialist, Foster Care
Ariane Guzman, Medical Assistant, Health Services
Charles Hudson, Milieu Supervisor, Residential Services
Mark Kennedy, Mental Health Specialist, Residential Services
Elena Larson, Housekeeping Services Manager, Facilities
Karin Macholdt, Lead, Information Technology
Dr. Dennis Munk, Emeritus Professor, Carthage College
Joanne Rae, Case Manager, Residential Services
Kelly Rodkey, Audit Specialist, Quality Improvement
Lindzy Zaremba, Director, Human Resources

A tradition of care and service.

For 125 years, Allendale, a private, not-for-profit organization, has led youth with serious emotional, mental, and behavioral health challenges and their families on a journey towards resiliency.

At Allendale, our aim is to offer every chance for healing and growth – through myriad programs and services and a continuum of care including 24/7 therapeutic residential treatment, therapeutic day school programs, outpatient counseling services, foster care and community support services. Allendale is a place where kids and families have the opportunity to restore their lives and discover a better future.