30th Annual Envoy Conference, September 12, 2015
The theme for this Annual Conference was “Together we make a difference for the young people in our care.” I had never heard of Gibault Children’s Services much less what transpires on this campus until I joined the Knights of Columbus.
The program started with registration from 9:30 to 10:30 am. We were welcomed by CEO Michele Madley and Thomas Gawlic PSD, Chairman, Board of Trustees. Indiana State Council, State Deputy Scott Cunningham briefed us on our role as Knights of Columbus supporting Gibault Services monetarily.
After lunch a campus tour was offered, followed by three presentations. The first stop on the tour was a classroom building. I was met by three staff members and each one explained their role with the students. I was told that Gibault was not a detention home or a place for bad kids. Many of these children have witnessed intense domestic violence, have a care giver who is incarcerated and have unstable home environments.
Depending on the child’s condition there is a professional staff person with the background education and years of experience to work with this child. My meeting with these three staff members was an eye opener and I learned a lot about why there is a place like Gibault.
The first of the three presentations was led by two staff therapists who explained the program that is used to deal with these students. The ultimate goal of this program is a return to normal life. Secondly, four students from their music program treated us to a guitar jam session. Thirdly, eight students comprised a panel that was an open questioning session. The audience asked any type of question and most of the students were very willing to answer these questions. Some questions were very personal – why are you here, what are your goals, what do you like about Gibault. This panel discussion hit me very hard. We read about abuse but to hear the experience from these boys and girls is enough to bring tears to your eyes.
Upon leaving campus I was struck with one thought. These young men and women are our step-children. We, as Knights of Columbus, must make sure that we take care of them. I felt proud to be a member of the Knights of Columbus.
- Bob Ramesh, Gibault Envoy