5 Things | Children's Home Society of Washington

I am the oldest of three children; I came from Guanajuato, Mexico to live in Wenatchee in 1996. I am married to Erick Gonzalez and we have three children; Mauricio 22, Aleri 17, and Meztli 14 years. We are family of orchardists and own Hacienda de Gonzalez, Inc. During the past 27 years, I have assisted families in understanding and navigating social and education systems. I have held different positions in Wenatchee such as graduation specialist/counselor for the Wenatchee School District, teacher, instructor and director of Head Start. I am involved in the coordination and organization of numerous events on behalf of families such as Fiestas Mexicanas, Sweethearts for Kids and Christmas tree; I participate as board member for some organizations. I enjoy supporting individuals, meeting the diverse needs of students and families while empowering and inspiring individuals. Children's Home Society of Washington (CHSW) has given me the opportunity of working in an area that I immensely enjoy and helping me continue my efforts.

1. CHSW believes every child deserves a loving home. We provide critical services for children and families in Chelan and Douglas counties who are facing challenges. Our programs help children and families get on the path toward success and stay there. We have been a statewide leader and voice for children since 1896 and opened our first office in Wenatchee in the 1950s. CHSW boasts one of Washington State’s most robust family services networks, and protects, educates and counsels thousands of children each year.

2. Through our counseling program, we assist families in building stronger relationships by teaching communication, stress management and problem-solving skills. We encourage children and their parents to identify and prioritize areas of concern and then work together to develop healthy solutions. 

Our sites are licensed mental health service providers and we partner with the Chelan Douglas Regional Support Network to provide counseling, case management, and family support services to children and families in Chelan and Douglas counties. Families who enroll in our counseling services also have access to a child psychiatrist from Seattle Children’s Hospital. We are also offer Children’s Intensive Program, which provides comprehensive home and community-based services and support to children and youth who have significant behavioral health needs and their families.

3. The Readiness to Learn program of CHSW provides support to children who are struggling in school and need some extra support to succeed. We serve Entiat, Eastmont and Wenatchee school districts. 

The program has produced many success stories, including Andrew’s. With help from CHSW, Andrew improved his academic performance as well as his relationship with his grandfather, Michael, who raises him. Michael and his wife adopted Andrew when his mother died and his father relinquished parental rights. 

Now a widower, Michael is solely responsible for Andrew’s upbringing and education. This situation proved stressful for Michael because although Andrew’s showed plenty of potential, his performance in school was subpar. 

One year after working with CHSW, Andrew’s made significant improvements in his school performance. “I don’t know what I would do if we didn’t get help from CHSW,” Michael said. “The one to one tutoring and psychological help was and still is the best thing for Andrew."

4. Our specialized Therapeutic Foster Care program blends the strengths of highly-trained foster parents with the skills and support of staff to help children and youth who cannot remain in the home with their birth parents. We partner with the division of Children and Family Services to serve children from Chelan, Douglas and Grant counties. Many children have found permanent homes or have been reunified with their birth parents thanks to the Therapeutic Foster Care program. Our foster parents have given these children nurturing, caring homes. Kari and her husband Andy have been foster parents to seven children through the program. Being a licensed foster care parent through CHSW meant that Kari and Andy received the expertise and support of staff who were available 24/7. Through all the joys and challenges, CHSW has been with Kari and her family during their journey. "CHSW are real people that know us, love us, thank us and they admire us," Kari said. "We admire them as much or more."

5. We are now helping more children and families in Chelan and Douglas counties after opening a new counseling office in East Wenatchee at 220 Eastmont Ave. The office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

We continue to provide a wide variety of services, including counseling, family support and foster care, through the Wenatchee Family Resource Center at 1014 Walla Walla Ave.

To learn more or schedule an appointment, call 663-0034 or visit childrenshomesociety.org.

We always appreciate volunteers who can donate their time, talent and any resources, including in-kind contributions. Our volunteers support program activities that directly benefit children and families, including our annual luncheon SweetHearts for Kids, held every April; Thanksgiving and Christmas events; Kiwanis luncheon; and school supply drives.