Farming with Casey

Farming with Casey

Hi everyone!

Though a big part of me still feels like I just started working at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, another part can’t figure out how everything has fit into the past 5 months.  I feel like I could spend a lifetime learning about all of the work Casey does, and still have barely scratched the surface!  Casey is dedicated to improving the lives of children and their families in the United States.  The breadth of this mission is not lost on the foundation, and Casey does not seem to leave a stone unturned.  There are entire units dedicated to transforming the Child Welfare system, the Juvenile Justice system, building evidence based practices, policy reform and advocacy, economic opportunity, community change, research and evaluation, and developing leadership in these fields.  And for anyone who likes data and is interested in child well-being, you should definitely check out the KIDS COUNT data center at –

When I started in July, the foundation was trying its first ever “Midsummer Convening.”  Basically, for three days, everybody at Casey had to put down their work and come together to participate in a variety of activities.  Everyone has such passion and drive in what they do, with work ethics rivaling those of Davidson students around finals time, that I’m sure you can imagine some of the reactions when people were asked to step away from their day-to-day for so long.  By the end of the three days, however, everyone was raving about the experience.  We watched documentaries, had round table discussions, debates, and brainstorming sessions.  The opportunity to step back, reflect, and connect with people across the foundation was incredibly valuable.  Most excitingly, however, one of the days was dedicated to community service.  I got spend an entire day on a farm building a greenhouse, picking tomatoes, and shoveling compost with a medley of VP’s, directors, interns, and everyone in between across almost every unit.  Everyone had a blast getting their hands dirty and connecting with colleagues that they may have never come across in the office.

Farming with Casey Farming with Casey

Farming was just one of the options – some people decorated pots for planting (picture below), conducted mock interviews for young adults, spent time in a local homeless shelter, worked in classrooms, or created a mosaic for the newly built middle school in east Baltimore.  Though everyone at Casey is working tirelessly so that children have brighter futures, and approaching that work in a billion and one ways, the opportunity to do direct service seemed to have an energizing effect.  Farming with CaseyIn reflecting upon our take-aways from the day, one person eloquently stated “every small thing we do for another human being matters, sometimes more than we know.”  And I think everyone was that much more excited about the idea that one more kid might wake up and think “today is full of possibility.”