Celebrating Crittenton’s Operation Team: An Essential Part of Our Workforce
COVID-19 has and will more than likely disrupt the organizational structure and the way organizations conduct their daily operation for years to come. Typical activities – attending a sporting event, sitting down at a restaurant, hugging a friend, or even coming into the office everyday – have all become a foreign notion. Nationwide, people have been told to stay home and remain socially distant from one another. This attempt to minimize the wave of this virus has led to nearly 15% of Americans being laid off or furloughed from their jobs, according to USA Today. The only employees who have been left to remain and carry out the duties of the essential societal infrastructure are those considered “essential”. By default, Crittenton’s entire workforce is deemed “essential” as we collectively are a part of the nation’s child welfare and social services safety net.
Here at Crittenton, we consider each and everyone of our employees essential to the work we do. From our frontline social workers, therapists, program staff, nurses and everyone in between that directly serve the children and youth in our care we are truly appreciative for their service especially during this public health crisis.
However, because we are taking the time this year to “thank” those employees who have served more than 20 years of service at Crittenton we want to celebrate and publicly thank our operations team. Nearly half of our maintenance and food service employees have served this mission together for more than 20 years! In a time when it’s quite common for employees to move on from one organization to the next we find this dedication to their crafts and the teamwork they’ve exuded throughout the years simply extraordinary. It’s rare when anybody stays in one organization for their entire career, and unheard of when nearly an entire team stays together for this length of time.
“Our maintenance, food services, purchasing, and I.T. team members work extremely hard,” said Director of Support Services, Gina Bongiavonni-Brunick, “They take pride in their jobs. No matter what is going on, they make it happen, and I think that is the best attribute I can say about all of them. They get the job done.”
Now more than ever our operations team is on the frontline doing what they can to protect and help the “helpers” of our mission. Without the dedication of our operations team the Crittenton employees that work directly with the youth and families in our care would not get the crucial logistical support they need to make a difference in the community.
Oftentimes, the work of our operations team goes “unseen” publicly because they truly are the behind-the-scenes movers and shakers. But make no mistake their services are in fact noticed and appreciated as they much like our human services workforce are working to make Crittenton a healthy, safe and an efficient organization.
Anything operational or facilities management related you can think of, they do it. They paint our buildings, replace flooring, fix plumbing, cook food for the clients in our care, support offices with their technology needs, maintain cleanliness and help with allocation of employee supply and resource needs. Without this essential part of Crittenton’s workforce we could not function as professionally and organized as we do.
While many people do not have the opportunity to continue to work right now, this employee group definitely does not take a single workday for granted. This is a very emotional time for not only those who have lost their jobs, but also those who remain employed keeping the essential infrastructure up and running.
“There are worries,” says Bongiavonni-Brunick, “but the best thing is that Crittenton has been very transparent about information, so it makes them feel comfortable. Every time they need to go somewhere that may be questionable, they are given the appropriate protective equipment to use and my team’s concerns are answered. It makes them feel good that Crittenton cares about their well-being as well.”
Every single one of our employees brings something to the table to help keep our organization running. We all have our unique roles that contribute to the functioning of Crittenton as a whole.
When asked what has kept the operations team together for this long and continues to stay positive during this time period Bongiavonni-Brunick says, “I think it’s the people, it’s their group. They respect each other, they laugh together, of course there’s always drama here and there, but I think at the end of the day they truly enjoy working here,” Bongiavonni-Brunick adds, “We have a team member who is eligible to retire, and he tells me, “Gina, you know I can retire,” and I tell him, “yeah, I know I’m kind of just waiting for it to happen because you’ve been talking about it.”
Bongiavonni-Brunick mentions that the team member simply replies to her response, “What would I do? Here I laugh, I am productive, I do all this stuff, and I go home and feel fulfilled. This is family too.”
There are so many words we wish we could say, but in short, thank you. Thank you to all of our essential workers, whether they be part of the operations team, medical department, social workers, therapists, administrative professionals, etc.. We thank you. We couldn’t move this mission forward without all of you.
Crittenton Services for Children and Families of Southern California (CSCF) is a non-profit social services agency whose mission is to heal the wounds of abuse and neglect; strengthen families; and help troubled adolescents reach their full potential. Established and incorporated in 1966 Crittenton has a highly trained workforce operating 24 hours a day / 7 days a week providing comprehensive mental health services, shelter care, and other support services to the clients in our care. We provide a full array continuum of care programming that includes short-term residential, family preservation, wraparound family services, outpatient mental health, school-linked mental health, transitional age youth programming, and foster care services with a service planning area throughout Southern California that covers Orange, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties.