Turning Over the Reigns but Not Leaving the Race
—Jack Kresnak, Former President and CEO, Michigan’s Children
The best “good-byes” are when you know that the person leaving is still going to be active, still committed to the cause, still yearning to see better things ahead for the people we care about, especially our children.
So it is with me, as I transition from President/CEO of Michigan’s Children to a retirement that also will see me still engaged with a variety of writing projects, including a book that needs to be finished by the end of the year. June 22, 2012 was my final day as the leader of this critically important organization.
As President of Michigan’s Children for the past four years, I have had the privilege and honor of being a voice for children who need strong and effective advocates now more than ever. Michigan’s Children has a committed, dedicated and effective staff whose extraordinary advocacy on behalf of children is not only inspiring but is making a significant difference in the lives of our state’s children, particularly children of color and from low-income families who face daunting challenges. Our mission remains: making Michigan a place where all children have the opportunity to thrive, and we have hope that someday Michigan will be the best place to raise a child.
I’m proud of my work here and leave with utmost gratitude and respect for my fellow advocates, one of whom has agreed to take the helm at Michigan’s Children as Interim President and CEO, Bill Long, who brings an extensive and extraordinary history to guide Michigan’s Children during this transition period.
Next year, Michigan’s Children will celebrate its 20th anniversary – a remarkable achievement. Over those years, Michigan’s Children has helped improve public policies that benefit kids and helped the state’s child welfare system begin to address the disparities in outcomes for children living in poverty. Those important efforts often are behind-the-scenes at the Capitol in Lansing or in Congress in Washington, D.C., and not widely known to the general public.
If you value Michigan’s Children – a non-partisan, independent voice for children for two decades – then please help sustain the work with a donation now by going to the website www.michiganschildren.org and clicking on the “Donate4Kids” button. Our children need you.
Taking the Opportunity to Lead One of the Most Critical Advocacy Voices for Children
—Bill Long, Interim President and CEO, Michigan’s Children
I feel privileged to have been asked to serve as Interim President and CEO of Michigan’s Children Be assured that Michigan’s Children will continue to work hard to put children and youth at the forefront of public discourse, especially during the upcoming elections, but also throughout the year.
We will work to shape and build support for policy solutions that close gaps for our children and families. Unfortunately, for many families and children, particularly those of color and low income, those gaps begin before birth and continue through adulthood. Making those seeking public office, and other public policy makers, aware of these gaps, and stimulating dialogue leading to actions to change the lives of these families, is critical for the future of the next generation and our nation’s future. It can help focus our common concerns and develop practical solutions.
Our children deserve a serious discussion focusing on ways we can ensure a future that helps them reach adulthood healthy, safe, educated and prepared for the unknown challenges ahead. Our state’s next Legislature and those we elect to represent us in Congress will act on public policy that determines whether children have a future that energizes their potential and enables prosperity for a new generation. Michigan’s Children, and all of the voices around the state who speak with us, are more essential now than ever before.
Michigan’s Children Board and staff wish Jack the best with his future endeavors and expect he will continue his work as a child advocate that began as a journalist uncovering injustices in the system and fighting to improve conditions for children. He should leave with a feeling of accomplishment. He helped Michigan’s Children help the children of Michigan.
I am proud to join the staff and serve the Board of Michigan’s Children. Challenges await us. We look forward to facing them together and rallying others to join us as we continue our work on behalf of the children of Michigan.