Caring for Children Entering Foster Care

Solstice Soiree
This June 20th, on the longest day of the year, we gather to support children on the longest day of their life.   Sponsorship and Ticketing

ABOUT US

Office Moms & Dads volunteers provide nurturing care to children entering foster care.

Our Mission

Office Moms & Dads, a nonprofit organization, is a community of qualified volunteers partnering with child welfare offices to provide a nurturing environment for children entering foster care.

Our Vision

Office Moms & Dads’ 5-year vision is to establish and sustain sites throughout Washington and Idaho where children entering care transition with minimal trauma into their foster care placement.

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Our History

How OMD went from an idea to an organization

Sarah Desjarlais and Kim Karu are two very different people, but that’s what makes their partnership really work.

Sarah, a foster parent and community activist, found herself in a meeting at the child welfare offices of her hometown in Vancouver, Washington planning a graduation party for the class of 2013. It was during that meeting that Sarah witnessed a little boy sitting in a conference room. The meal that his social worker had purchased for him was sitting untouched on the table, and his Care Box lay open, haphazardly gone through. This 9 year old boy seemed to sink into the chair he occupied. He sat there alone, in every sense of the word. His social worker sat across the hall in a cubicle, feverishly working the phone, trying to find him a suitable placement, a place he could call home.

In the same breath, Sarah witnessed two small sisters giggling, running full speed through the office, their social worker in hot pursuit. It occurred to her how hard it would be to do the things required of a social worker while constantly being pulled in all directions, to find them a new home, and to entertain them while the search continues and sometimes for hours. Sarah immediately felt that there must be something that could be done to ease the situation for the child (ren) and the social worker.

Weeks later at the Graduation Party, Kim was working the room with a photographer’s eye, her Nikon810 in hand. Kim, a CPS Social Worker by day and photographer by night, was lending her talent at the party taking pictures for the graduates. Sarah was delivering gift baskets that had been donated by the community and the two struck up a conversation.

The beginning of OMD was in the works the moment a question was posed: What would happen if the community could provide childcare in the office?

The stars aligned, and the rest is history. Together with a team of 5 gracious volunteers, Kim and Sarah launched Office Moms & Dads. New lessons were learned each day as they forged ahead with an idea that had never been tried before in the world of child welfare.

Our Team

Sarah Desjarlais OMD

Sarah Desjarlais

Executive Director / Founder

Sarah Desjarlais has always had a deep commitment to social justice. She began her professional career as a Community Involvement Specialist for a local coffee shop and quickly fell in love with giving back to her community.

Recruited by a local engineering firm to work as their Public Involvement Coordinator, Sarah obtained skills that she would later carry over into the founding and creating of Office Moms & Dads.

Sarah and her husband, an enrolled member of the Chippewa Cree tribe, began their journey as foster parents in 2009 when, in a whirlwind of providential circumstances, they took placement of two sweet babies. Now, years later they have had the great privilege of adopting three of their five children through foster care. Sarah continues to provide respite to local foster families while staying attuned to the unique needs of the Clark County DCYF office.

In balancing the duties of Executive Director for Office Moms & Dads and the rigors of raising five kids, Sarah enjoys sewing, cooking, and walking the beautiful streets of her downtown community.

Amie McKey

Amie McKey

Executive Assistant

Amie McKey grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and moved to the Pacific Northwest 14 years ago. The first time she visited Vancouver, Washington with her husband, she knew this is where she wanted to plant roots and raise her growing family.

Her passion for early intervention and child welfare stems from her 20 years of field experience as an Early Intervention Specialist and Child Protective Services Investigator.  It was while Amie was working as a CPS Investigator that she learned about Office Moms & Dads and was instantly impressed with the organization’s mission.  After witnessing first hand the changes in a child after sitting with an OMD volunteer, she became a steadfast supporter of the program.
When Amie isn’t volunteering at her daughter’s school library repairing broken books, you can find her walking her dog, hiking or camping with her family.  Amie is excited to be a part of Office Moms & Dads family!
Ginny Gronwoldt

Ginny Gronwoldt

Fundraising Events Committee Chair

Coming Soon!

Coming Soon!

Cindy Floyd

Cindy Floyd

Hub Leader Region 6, Idaho
Cindy Floyd is a farm girl from Marsing Idaho who started her career in a level III Neonatal ICU in 2007.

As a primary nurse to a child who needed foster care she soon filled out an application and became a foster parent. She specializes in drug affected babies and continue to foster to this day. She has wore many hats in the foster care world, She has been a resource peer mentor (RPM) as well as a PRIDE Co-Trainer and currently sits on the Citizen Review Panel (CRP) in Idaho. Soon she is adopting her sixth child from foster care and she also has 2 biological sons. She went on to school and earned her masters degree in Nurse Education and taught at a college level for several years. Cindy now is pursuing a family nurse practitioners degree and hopes to use it to help kids who are in the foster care system.  She heard about the Office Moms and Dad’s program through an informational meeting and joined the Caldwell office team.  Later she helped start the Boise Office Moms & Dad’s program as a volunteer coordinator.

Darcy Blankenship

Darcy Blankenship

Hub Leader Region 6, Washington

I’m a native Oregonian, transplanted to Vancouver in 1980. I’m a mom and a Nana to a fantastic family located from Vancouver to West Virginia. I am also a dog mom to Winny the Pug. I recently retired following 32 years of Federal government service, as a program analyst.

 

Organization, attention to details, and building relationships with others in the agency were key skills to successfully providing information needs to our organization.

I joined OMD as an Office Mom in 2014. Sarah Desjarlais, a co-founder, and I attended the same church so I’d heard about the program from its beginning and was excited to participate in caring for the kids. In 2016, I became the Vancouver Volunteer Coordinator. I believe in the mission of caring for the children entering foster care and creating more time for the social workers engaged in helping them; this makes it easy to help recruit new volunteers!

Marlene Payment

Marlene Payment

Hub Leader Region 5, Washington

Marleen heard about Office Moms & Dads through her local church, and realized there was not a program in Shelton. She became the Volunteer Coordinator and OMD Shelton launched in January 2017.

As a result of seeing the overwhelming need for more foster homes and more support for existing foster families, she left her position teaching preschoolers to focus on building community support to foster kids and families. It’s encouraging to see the community stepping up to serve our kids!

 

Marleen and her husband are almost empty nesters! They have four children; their two oldest sons have moved into their adult lives and they have two high school kids remaining at home. They enjoy playing games, hiking, sharing meals, and trips to the ocean.

Angela Loomis

Angela Loomis

Hub Leader Region 3, Washington
At a very young age Angela was adopted and growing up has had family in the foster care system. Recognizing the opportunity being adopted provided her she has always had a strong passion for supporting foster care children.
Though, in 2015 when she heard about OMD she was not in a position to take in foster kids she was excited to learn that she could make a big impact in a different way by leading volunteers to sit with littles in the DCYF office during their most frightening times. She now serves as the Hub Leader for Bellingham and Mount Vernon offices.
Angela lives and works in Bellingham, WA. She and her husband, Ryan, are expecting their first child in February of 2020! When she is not supporting Office Moms and Dads she works as an event planner and marketing professional, can be found playing with her husky puppy, Maisha, or spending time with family and friends. She loves being outdoors, hiking, and enjoys entertaining at her home.
Coming Soon

Lisa Dupre

Hub Leader Region 3, Washington

Coming Soon!

Coming Soon!

What & Why

The What:

OMD is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization founded in Vancouver, Washington (USA) in 2013. OMD deploys qualified volunteers to child welfare offices throughout Washington and Idaho who sit with and entertain children who have just been removed from their homes - children who have undergone unspeakable trauma. Our volunteers serve in their local child welfare office on an on-call basis, and strive to make the day just a little bit better for both child and social worker.

The Why:

The average child can wait in a child welfare office anywhere from three to five hours after being taken into protective custody. Meanwhile, social workers frantically search for a suitable foster home or relative to care for them. The wait after a removal can be one of the most frightening and uncertain times in a child’s life. Our volunteers help alleviate stress on social workers, care for the immediate needs of the child, and serve the foster care community in a tangible way. The time commitment for volunteers is flexible, but the impact is monumental.