Bob and Andie Rander know a few things about kids. They raised four boys and now have eight grandchildren. Andie was a teacher, and Bob served on the board of D.A. Blodgett – St. John’s (DABSJ) during a time when its model of residential treatment was being developed.
Even though that was nearly 25 years ago, Bob still recalls what he learned as a board member: “I was always so moved by the agency’s emphasis on the need to love their kids just like our own. It made sense to me. I also was impressed by the agency’s philosophy of high expectations. That is what Andie and I did with our own kids when they were growing up. If they were capable of getting all A’s, then that’s what we expected. If they were capable of C’s and gave it their best effort, that’s all we could ask. We were impressed that DABSJ had the same philosophy.”
Andie’s experiences as a teacher taught her a lot about compassion: “I taught for five years in community education, working mostly with adults. We also had programs for their children. I came to realize it was easy to judge single parents from afar, but once you really got to know them you understood that they loved their children as much as anyone. The big difference was that they had more challenges facing them. I finished my career teaching kindergarten. That really kept us busy, but I came away with an understanding of just how much kids and parents need a sense of hope. I feel that is what DABSJ provides.”
It’s clear that Bob shares Andie’s views: “I am impressed with the agency’s focus on hope—the ability of kids to overcome their past. Staff members help kids deal with their problems, but they don’t let those problems define them as people. It is a very uplifting message for kids who need it.”
Bob and Andie’s support remains strong today, and will remain for years to come. As Bob explains, “For years, we have had an annual giving plan which benefitted DABSJ because of their important work providing help and healing to disadvantaged children. When developing our Estate Plan, we established an Endowment Fund that includes DABSJ and serves as a Living Memorial. The needs of children continue, and we want to help them in perpetuity.”