There are big changes taking place at Children’s Emergency Relief International (CERI). As our partner in ministry and mission, I wanted to ensure you had full visibility of the latest happenings.
The first major change underway is our location. For the last decade, CERI’s USA operations have been based in Kingwood, Texas. The reason for this was simple: it was the hometown of our longtime executive director, Dr. Dearing Garner. However, with Dearing preparing for retirement (for the second time around), we have a key opportunity to return CERI to its original location in San Antonio.
As of June, CERI will operate from: 1506 Bexar Crossing, San Antonio, TX 78232.
This move will benefit CERI in several ways. First, BCFS – CERI’s parent organization headquartered in San Antonio – has always provided “back end” support to CERI, which includes services like accounting, human resources, IT, external affairs and communications, grant writing and professional development. Embedding CERI with these resources will provide greater “hands on” support and increase efficiency for administrative functions.
Secondly, the move brings CERI closer to our domestic foster care operations and the experienced managers, counselors and case workers who coordinate care on a daily basis for children separated from their parents here in the U.S. Countries like Moldova and Sri Lanka have weak or nascent foster care systems. While our international offices are doing amazing work identifying and supporting our foster families, we expect that closer integration of our foster care programs will strengthen the professional standards and effectiveness of care being delivered to children and families around the world.
Many of our supporters have gotten to know our wonderful USA-based staff well over the years and will be concerned about what this move means for them. I am pleased to share that Dearing will continue to serve as interim executive director until the end of August, at which time he will transition into a new role where he’ll continue being part of CERI activities.
Diana Bass will also continue to be part of our work, overseeing “Project Ruth” – a program based in Romania that helps Roma women become independent through vocational training, counseling and educational support. And it’s possible that Lagala Doran and Billie Earley will too continue to support our work – whether in an abbreviated capacity with CERI or elsewhere throughout our larger organization. We are committed to ensuring our “CERI family” is not put into a negative situation as a result of this transition. Change – when done with purpose and commitment – can propel organizations toward new levels of achievement. Since CERI’s founding, our organization has had high goals and expectations for serving children in need. This transition will only serve to reinforce and advance our commitment to making profound differences in the lives of children who are orphaned around the world.