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User Spotlight: Robert Bolling, ChildSavers

Get to know Robert Bolling, Chief Executive Officer at ChildSavers – this week’s ConnectVA User Spotlight!

Tell us about yourself.

I am the CEO of ChildSavers, a 90-year-old not-for-profit agency that provides child mental health and child development services in the greater Richmond, VA community.  In this role, I provide the overall management and leadership for achieving our mission. 

Prior to this position, I served as Executive Director of the William Byrd Community House.  Other nonprofit work includes Boaz & Ruth, and The Healing Place.  Early in my career I ran a youth workforce development program that helped high school and college students find summer employment.

What is the focus of your work?

ChildSavers believes that all children can be safe, happy, healthy and ready to learn.  We deliver on this vision through our new mission ?to guide our community?s children through life?s critical moments with trauma-informed mental health and child development services.?

At the core of ChildSavers’ mission is a fundamental commitment to the mental well-being of children and the positive bond between adult and child.

We support this with clinical treatment, education and training services that offer reassurance, healing, and the skills necessary to achieve normal life and development.  Our mental health programs include outpatient therapy services for children 17 years and younger regardless of the ability to pay.  We provide an immediate response program that dispatches trained mental health clinicians to events where children have witnessed or experienced trauma.  Our Child Development Services provides training to early childhood professionals to improve the quality of care and education for preschool children. 

Tell us about one of your greatest accomplishments.

ChildSavers highly talented, trained and dedicated staff delivers quality services that help kids to feel safe, to be happy and healthy and to ensure that they are ready to learn.  My job is to make sure that the resources are available to do our critically needed work.  I am delighted that the Board of ChildSavers supports our effort.  Last year we not only successfully raised enough revenue to support our programs during the year but also to provide additional resources for the current year.

What are some major challenges you have faced and how you handled them?

As the CEO at ChildSavers, and at other not-for-profit organizations, I have learned to never panic.  Remaining calm allows me to see obstacles more clearly, and to find the variety of solutions to break down barriers.  Avoiding panic also stimulates the creative and innovative forces in my mind, and has made me incredibly receptive to new ideas and out of the box thinking.

What is a lesson you have learned?

The thing that keeps me up at night is the recruitment and retention of great colleagues.  The people you work with make all the difference!  The simplest thing is to increase cash compensation, which we have been able to do because of the support from our funders.  Yet the more important thing is to have every employee feel valued.  This means that we have had to look closely for opportunities to create a culture that puts mission first, that celebrates successes, and that learns from challenges. 

What?s coming next for your organization that really excites you?

On October 30, 31 and November 1, ChildSavers is holding its 6th annual Artist Support ChildSavers Art Show fundraiser at glave-kocen gallery in Richmond.  Nearly 40 artists have created 70 pieces of beautiful work.  ChildSavers will receive at 50% of the proceeds from each sale.  Looking for beautiful artwork for the office or home, we invite you to come by.  For details and to preview the artists? work, check out our website www.childsavers.org, or our profile on ConnectVA

How are you leveraging ConnectVA to achieve your mission?

I have served on the advisory group of ConnectVA for several years and I am excited that the greater Richmond and Petersburg areas benefit from this amazing resources.  The recruitment tools for ConnectVA historically have been a godsend for ChildSavers. More recently our staff has benefited from the blog postings, and we have found partnership and training opportunities through the website and networking events.

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