Wediko News Update for Alumni Staff and Friends

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February 10, 2020
Dear Wediko Family,
We have important news to share with you. First, I need to provide some context.  For its entire history, Wediko has done remarkable work as a small not for profit agency. Our entrepreneurial model has followed a basic logic: See a need, develop programming to meet the need, find a way to pay for it.  Instead of “following the money”, Wediko has followed the need. We are proud of that tradition and the clinical integrity behind it.  It should come as no surprise then that for much of our history Wediko has struggled financially. With few exceptions, our fund-raising efforts have not provided the stability we have needed to grow and prosper. Wediko has never had an endowment, which is critical to the success of most non-profit organizations.
As many of you are aware, Wediko has also experienced many significant events and changes in recent years. We have endured critical losses and several major leadership transitions. Our ability to maintain our operations and our high standards of care during this time has been no small accomplishment. Much credit goes to our program leaders and our staff, who have done amazing work despite the organizational pressures. The mounting financial pressure over the past two years in particular had put the future of the agency at risk.
In response to these challenges, the Wediko Board of Trustees began working over a year ago on a couple of strategic options that could help ensure Wediko’s future. The first option was to sell our Boston office to pay off our existing debt. The second option was to find a strategic partner agency who could help us leverage our strengths and achieve the development goals which we have not been able to achieve on our own.
In November we were able to reach an agreement with one prospective partner, The Home for Little Wanderers, to begin a process of exclusive and in-depth discussions around the possibility of a merger. Over the past few months, the Wediko board, Program Directors and senior leadership have met with counterparts in The Home and have engaged in an intensive review of a proposed plan. Last week, the boards of both organizations voted unanimously to approve the merger.  Having spent much of the past year in discussion about how both Wediko and The Home understand the needs of children and families, how our programs are designed to meet those needs, how we envision the future and how we can share our mutual talents and resources, we believe this merger is a tremendous opportunity for both organizations. As a result of this agreement, the Wediko office in Boston will remain with the combined organization. In recognition of our brand and our well-deserved reputation for high quality care, all Wediko programs will retain the Wediko name.
We encourage everyone in the Wediko alumni community to learn more about The Home for Little Wanderers. We are particularly excited about the The Home’s research, evaluation and fund-raising capacity. Lesli Suggs, CEO of The Home, has impressed our leadership team with her own clinical background as a social worker and clinician.  Our discussions with Lesli and her team have created a great sense of optimism for our shared future.
We are sensitive to the magnitude of this announcement. Wediko has touched so many lives in a profound way for the past 85 years.  There will be a range of reactions to this news.  There will be a lot of questions.   Those of us currently in leadership roles have had time to process the need for this historic step. We know you will need that time as well.  We hope that you will reach out to us, and each other. We will share more information with you as this new chapter in Wediko’s history unfolds.
Finally, I want to share my appreciation for all that the Wediko board has done over the past year to create this path for Wediko’s future. A year ago the path ahead was much darker and less certain.  The work done by the board over the past year is not unlike  the work we have done with so many kids and families. We know that many of our children and families come to us after repeated experiences of trauma and loss. Most have experienced treatment “failure” and have almost given up.  They come to us at a moment when their future feels, and often is, threatened. We also know that success in our work is measured a bit differently. We have learned to recognize the significance of small gains and just improving the odds. As a result of the board’s effort, we have improved the odds for Wediko significantly.
As I write this, Wediko clinicians are serving students and families in schools across Boston and New York. Students are engaged in lessons at the Wediko School. Soon, more than 100 kids and an equal number of staff will cross the bridge to the summer program. We’re still here, and I hope you will continue to support Wediko on its journey. We still need the support of our alumni in the ways we always have. Referrals to our summer program and the Wediko School, staff referrals, donations and participation in Wediko events are all ongoing needs. Please stay connected and involved in whatever way is possible.
Thank you for your understanding and support.
Ed Zadravec, Psy.D.
Interim Executive Director
Camp Wediko Summers,’86, ‘17
Boston School-Based Programs ’93-‘17
Clinical Director ’17 – present
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