As MountainStar Family Relief Nursery’s new executive director, Kara Tachikawa is taking over the reins during a time when she thinks supporting families is needed most. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, MountainStar’s work of preventing child abuse and neglect is especially critical with families facing increased stress and isolation, she says. The Central Oregon-based nonprofit offers therapeutic centers, relief nursery programs, and other services for families. Tachikawa plans to expand the nonprofit’s services and reach throughout the three counties, continue a “human-centered” work culture, and continue to engage community members as volunteers, donors, and advocates. “As a mother, I know that parenting can be really difficult even when things are going well for a family, and the effects of hardships are multiplied when caring for young children,” Kara says. She also says that as an early childhood educator, she knows children’s brains develop the most in the first five years of their life. “I am in this work because I want to partner with families to help make those first five years easier, which will help children's brains grow better, which will literally make our community a healthier and happier place to be in the future,” she says.
Here are five things Tachikawa is thankful for:
- “My family—my husband, my two kids and my mom—and all the joys, frustrations, and accomplishments that make up our life.”
- “An amazing work team. The staff at MountainStar put their whole hearts into the work that they do with children and families.”
- “Technology that has allowed us to stay somewhat connected in the midst of a trying time.”
- “Joy that has appeared in multiple forms, like a neighborhood gathering around a fire pit, learning to make jewelry with my daughter or adopting a puppy.”
- “For the good people that appear in unexpected places and times.”