To celebrate National Foster Care Month, we sat down with Jodi Hitchler, Program Manager of CEDARS Foster Care to learn more about her and the work she does.
CEDARS: Hi Jodi!
Jodi Hitchler: Hi!
CEDARS: Your Foster Care Team is busy! I just heard about the 62 placements into forever families.
JH: Yeah, it’s a little crazy, that’s for sure.
CEDARS: Tell me how you got into Foster Care work.
JH: I have worked here at CEDARS for a little over 4 years. I started out working as the Admissions Specialist; then became the Assistant Program Manager in Foster Care; and now I am the Program Manager of Foster Care.
CEDARS: What is your favorite part about your job?
JH: I really enjoy training our new foster parents. It is really neat to see them through the process to getting their first placement
CEDARS: Where did you grow up?
JH: I grew up in Ainsworth, NE which is in the North Central part of the state. It is a small town in the middle of nowhere!
CEDARS: What is your favorite childhood memory?
JH: My dad’s family owns property on the Niobrara River, and every summer we would take a tubing trip. I also really enjoyed the shopping trips that my mom, sister and I would take to Grand Island. Since we lived in a small town, shopping was limited there!
CEDARS: What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
JH: I enjoy spending time with my family and reading.
CEDARS: Is there one particular client that you feel was significantly impacted at CEDARS?
JH: It would be hard for me to pick just one. When you work with so many youth on a daily basis they all become important to you in one way or another. Each day a youth impacts my life. These kids have been through so much, and I try to learn from each of their situations.
One night I rode along with a fellow team member to drop off a 7-year-old girl to her new foster home. She was upset and crying, and it was really hard for us to maintain our composure as it was really heartbreaking. A year later I happened to run into the girl and her foster parents (who adopted her) and it was so nice to see her happy and smiling. It just made me glad to know that she adjusted well to her forever home!
CEDARS: What is something you’d like everyone to know about Foster Care?
JH: I think that most people think that you have to be a “perfect parent” to be a great foster parent. That is far from the truth! Anyone can be a foster parent if you are flexible, patient, and willing to learn new techniques!
CEDARS: Thanks, Jodi!