Sunrise Children’s Service leader raising awareness one mile at a time

Rick Burslem

Vaught’s note: Each day my goal is to try and share some uplifting news — and it often may not be sports — just to give us a break from the daily worries we have. Today that information was provided by Dan Koett on an inspiring 153-mile trek for Rick Burslem, marketing and advancement VP for Sunrise Children’s Services.)

By DAN KOETT

LEXINGTON – Sunrise Children’s Servicesvice president of marketing and advancement, Rick Burslem, will begin a journey covering some 153 miles with stops in Elizabethtown (where the organization has two facilities), Danville, Mt. Washington, and Somerset.

The trek dubbed a “walkabout” by Burslem started from the Somerset/Bronston facility known as the Cumberland Adventure Program (CAP) off New Start Road.

Burslem says the primary goal of his hike is to share the importance of Sunrise’s services, tell the stories of the young people and families under Sunrise’s care, along with heralding the efforts of the dedicated staff. As he walks throughout the 150+ miles he will ask various foster parents and Sunrise staff to tell their story from a safe social distance along the way.

“I wanted to symbolically ‘walk a mile’ in the shoes of our kids,” he said. “These are young people who have been severely traumatized in their past. Our job is to love them enough to help them see they have a future.”

When the courts remove a child from his/her parents due to abuse or neglect, the child welfare system places that child in a foster care home, preferably with relatives. When a safe environment can’t be found among relatives, children enter non-kin foster homes or group homes. The long-term goal is safe reunification with parents or another permanent plan, such as adoption. Sunrise is a Gold Seal recipient of The Joint Commission in providing foster care, residential, therapeutic treatment and community-based services across the commonwealth.

 

In keeping with CDC, state, and local guidelines, Burslem will be practicing social distancing as a one-man parade with the hope that foster families and stakeholders in the communities he visits will step out on their porches and wave as he passes by. Rick’s wife, Vicki, will pick him up at the end of each day’s leg of the trip and return him to the same location the following morning to continue his commitment to his 153-mile “walkabout”. Sunrise will be posting Facebook Live segments throughout his journey.

Burslem, who has been with Sunrise since 2017, works with various public entities to create awareness, cultivating donor interest and investment, and raising operating and endowment funds on behalf of the children the organization serves. He has been dedicated to serving children for the last 37 years in the field of education in roles as teacher and administrator. Donations of a dollar or more per mile can be made at www.sunrise.org/walk

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