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Welcome to St. David’s Center’s new blog!  We hope you open our blog to find insights into child development as well as parenting topics, the latest news from our organization and some personal stories from families we are walking alongside every day.

As an organization with a mission to build relationships that nurture the development of every child and family, it is our calling to focus on the power and importance of relationships in everything we do.  Our teachers and therapists have heard this quote from me many times: “We don’t build widgets, we do relationships.”   What this means to us is that we not only bring our professional expertise into our work with each child and family, we bring the power of the relationships we develop with children and families, and we are thinking about how to build and support the key relationships around the children we serve all of the time. Their brains are depending on us to do so!

The Harvard Center on the Developing Child has a prolific amount of information about this topic.  The quote below from their working paper on the “environment of relationships” captures this concept well:

Healthy development depends on the quality and reliability of a young child’s relationships with the important people in his or her life, both within and outside the family. Even the development of a child’s brain architecture depends on the establishment of these relationships.

See the Harvard site for the full paper and more information on this topic:

I encourage you to take a moment to think about your role with the children in your life. With all the things we do each day, few are more important than being truly present in our relationships with them. We practice this in our work every day at St. David’s Center and hope that you can find some insight into this concept through our blog.

As we launch our blog this month, I want to emphasize our intention behind it and what you can expect to discover here.

I am pleased to say that we will have a team of professionals from across our organization who will share their insights and observations about work they do, the impact they see, and how you can apply these strategies into your everyday life. This content will be rich and informative, rooted in years of clinical and professional work, and diverse in its application.

St. David’s Center works with over 4,500 individuals every year, offering a range of services and programs for every family in our community since 1961. We have had many evolutions since then, and as our organization approaches our sixtieth year, the blog will be your source for news, updates, and advocacy related to our work and world.

Finally, we are honored to walk alongside families in our community as they embark on their respective journeys in life. From time to time, we will highlight one of these families here, telling their story so that we all may better understand one another and bring this most important work into a personal focus.

Stay tuned for more to come in February!  In the meantime, let’s all tune in and be present as we engage in the important work of nurturing and building the next generation!

Julie Sjordal serves as the Chief Executive Officer of St. David’s Center for Child & Family Development. Over her 32 years at St. David’s Center, she has held many roles in direct service, project management and leadership, invariably focused on our community’s most vulnerable children and families. Prior to taking on executive leadership, Julie served as managing director of programs, oversaw the approximately 30 programs at St. David’s Center and was instrumental in co-developing some of the most innovative programs and collaborative partnerships across the organization.

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