Here’s to the next 40 years

Rappahannock News - - EDITORIAL & OPINION -

Forty years ago, in Oc­to­ber of 1972, the county gov­ern­ments of Culpeper, Fauquier, Madi­son, Rap­pa­han­nock and Orange for­mal­ized their agree­ment that the Rap­pa­han­nock Rap­i­dan Community Ser­vices ( RRCS) board would be­come the agency to ad­dress state and fed­eral ex­pec­ta­tions re­lated to ser­vices for se­niors and in­di­vid­u­als of all ages with dis­abil­i­ties re­lated to men­tal ill­ness, in­tel­lec­tual dis­abil­ity and sub­stance use dis­or­ders.

From its in­cep­tion un­til now, the suc­cess of the or­ga­ni­za­tion has been built upon the pas­sion and com­mit­ment of vol­un­teers, ad­vo­cates and board mem­bers, cou­pled with the tal­ent and com­mit­ment of staff. Over time, thou­sands of com­mit­ted vol­un­teers, hun­dreds of ap­pointed board mem­bers and thou­sands of staff have cre­ated a stronger community for se­nior cit­i­zens and for in­di­vid­u­als with dis­abil­i­ties. In the midst of our cur­rent chal­lenges, it is easy to lose sight of the foun­da­tion laid down in the pre­ced­ing four decades in our re­gion. As the in­cum­bents in this process, we at RRCS are do­ing our part to pre­serve what has been built while manag­ing the cur­rent ser­vice de­liv­ery en­vi­ron­ment with its new and unique de­mands.

It is com­mon for us to point out the unique chal­lenges as­so­ci­ated with our own time and ten­ure in this sys­tem – be it as vol­un­teers, board mem­bers or staff. As we re­flect back on the past forty years, how­ever, it doesn't take long to rec­og­nize that our pre­de­ces­sors in this im­por­tant work faced for­mi­da­ble ob­sta­cles and fought to over­come pow­er­ful forces and com­pe­ti­tion for re­sources to ad­dress com­muni- ty needs. A look though the RRCS archives will soon re­veal voices from our community who fought for fund­ing, ser­vices, equal ac­cess and the de­vel­op­ment of a stronger com­mu­ni­ty­based sys­tem of care. Those col­lec­tive ef­forts have formed what is now an or­ga­ni­za­tion with more than 400 vol­un­teers, 375 em­ploy­ees, 26 pro­gram lo­ca­tions and over 35 dis­creet ser­vices lead by a 15- mem­ber Board of Di­rec­tors. Many of the ser­vices we pro­vide now started with a hand­ful of vol­un­teers and ad­vo­cates who wrote grants, raised funds and pushed their mes­sage be­fore community lead­ers and gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials to gain recog­ni­tion and on­go­ing sup­port. We are in many ways in­debted to those in­di­vid­u­als for much of what we have to­day. It is this same drive and com­mit­ment that continue to make a dif­fer­ence in our re­gion as we strive to ad­dress cur­rent needs.

A community that pro­vides sup­port and op­por­tu­ni­ties for the full range of its mem­bers through the col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­forts of vol­un­teers, community or­ga­ni­za­tions and gov­ern­ment is strong and re­silient dur­ing pros­per­ous times as well as in sea­sons of aus­ter­ity. The vol­un­teers, staff and board mem­bers of RRCS look back proudly on the 40- year legacy of the or­ga­ni­za­tion and com­mit our­selves to con­tin­u­ing to build upon it.


RRCS ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor

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