This post was written by Kraig Schuckman, Chaddock’s Kitchen Manager. In his spare time, Kraig enjoys family time with his kids, having BBQ’s, playing cornhole, taking jeep rides with friends, fishing, hunting and kayaking with his girlfriend!!

Three years ago my new journey in life started when my girlfriend told me to apply to Chaddock for a kitchen position, little did I know where it would go.

Working at Chaddock has been such an overwhelming and great experience. I came in looking for a job and ended up with a family and an awesome job.

The feeling I get while I feed our kids, knowing that for some this may be the only meal they get before they head home, or because their medicine causes them to not feel hungry they don’t eat all the time, is amazing.

Working in the kitchen doesn’t mean that you are unable to connect with our kids, because you definitely do. You find out a lot about each child as time goes by and in the end, you are left with mixed feelings when they leave to return to family or they graduate and start their independent lives – happy to see them succeed but sad because you will miss them.

This connection means that you find yourself wanting to help each child on their bad days and their good days. Some let you in, some don’t, but regardless, letting them know you care is what matters!

All the staff I’ve met here are great and becoming Kitchen Manager has been an awesome achievement. Working at Chaddock to me is not just a job anymore it’s family, it’s relationships, and it’s knowing that I’m making a difference in one child at a time from the kitchen!

Editorial Note:
At Chaddock we know that every single member of staff plays an extremely important role – from the CEO to our teachers, our overnight workers to our HR staff, our therapists to our maintenance crew – and it’s our awareness of this that is crucial to us being able to build healing relationships with our kids. When we know our worth as adults, we can help to instill that same feeling in the children and families we serve.

The connections we have with our kids are what allow us to not only tap into their interests but find ways that we can support them during their tough moments, and celebrate with them during their good moments, which, can be just as tough for some. Without connections we run the risk of our kids feeling stranded when they experience big emotions, instead of having someone to share them with and guide them as they navigate those feelings and the behaviors that may come along with them.