Childhaven Superheroes

Why we are "Guardians for a Better Childhood"

Last month, DCI and supporters of this year's charity golf tournament raised an estimated $67,000* for Childhaven, breaking a new fundraising record! Also for the first time, the annual tournament took over both courses at The Golf Club at Newcastle to accommodate double the amount of participants compared to past turnouts. Co-president Roger Heeringa encouraged attendees to spread the word about DCI's popular golf event since adding player capacity means raising significantly more money for Childhaven, a local non-profit group important to DCI's founders and current leadership since 2001. It was around this timeframe when the firm's co-founder Guy Conversano was part of the Childhaven building facility committee, a project which opened doors for him to be more involved with the charity. He sat on Childhaven's Board of Directors for six years before he passed the baton to Roger Heeringa.

So why do we choose, as stated in our 2015 event name, to be "Guardians for a Better Childhood?" While our industries differ, Childhaven's mission and values closely align with DCI's - cultivating healthy communities and investing in the future. Here's what else DCI and Childhaven have in common:

A mutual interest in bringing safety to people. Structural engineers think about public safety in the form of building systems and spaces. Their integral role is to ensure people are comfortable and protected in the environments they engineer. In the same way, Childhaven provides familiar security and consistency in a child's life with their programs and services. As advocates for positive early childhood development, representatives and volunteers establish a conducive place for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and parents to learn the foundations of healthy relationships or the means to heal from traumatic experiences. Both Childhaven and DCI believe having a safe place to go to is a fundamental human right.

Forward-thinking solutions. According to their website and Childhaven President Maria Chavez Wilcox, the non-profit is the largest non-profit agency in the country that addresses child abuse and neglect - and the only non-profit agency of its kind that is therapeutically-focused. Being open to work innovation and industry efficiencies is part of DCI's mission statement. If there is a way to integrate smart design early in the building development phase, the more successful our structural designs will serve our client and efficiently perform for the buildings' owner and tenants at the end. Childhaven and DCI are engineering the change we want to see in our community.

Nurturing productive citizens for a stronger society. Investing in a better future is a common "big picture" goal set by supportive families and community networks. Childhaven has seen the direct social costs of an unending cycle of child abuse and neglect. Their comparison studies revealed eye-opening lifestyle statistics between children who reached adulthood and received Childhaven's therapeutic care - and those who didn't. Those who received care were six times less likely to have committed a violent juvenile crime; 50% less likely to be disruptive in school; and two and a half times less likely to abuse drugs. Also, for every dollar spent on Childhaven programs, $320 can be saved from the costly societal after-effects of not addressing childhood trauma sooner than later (e.g., the price to process criminal offenses through the legal system and other social expenses).

Business and economic professionals have seen how advocating productive citizens in the workforce leads to a strong economy. DCI Engineers is active at local science-technology-engineering-mathematics (STEM) schools and programs to inspire kids to pursue the field of engineering. When the economy is booming, DCI grows the staff by 15 to 20 percent per year to keep up with business demand. Ensuring more children are successful in school is a strategy to mitigate financial burden imposed on the community. University of Chicago's Dr. James Heckman, an economics professor and expert in the economics of human development, analyzed a preschool program and he calculated its 7% to 10% per year return on investment based on increased school and career achievement (as well as reduced costs in remedial education, health, and criminal justice system expenditures). He is convinced early childhood programs for disadvantaged children and families are equally effective. Helping future generations develop marketable character skills can drive productivity and competitiveness in the workforce. Society gains more capable, self-sufficient citizens who pay dividends for the next generation of human capital. Childhaven and DCI envision the same future: a community of responsible and motivated citizens.

The DCI Annual Charity Golf Tournament is more than just a great networking opportunity for those in the A/E/C community - it's a way to change the world for the better in a tangible way. That's why it's such an anticipated event for our staff, A/E/C partners and clients. Please join us next year to contribute to the Childhaven Legacy!

* Final tally still pending

About the author

Rose Bechtold

Rose Bechtold, Communications Specialist | Rose comes from a journalism and technical writing background. She is in her element while in research mode and naturally immerses herself in expert knowledge by interviewing staff members about new subjects. In her spare time, Rose practices plein-air sketching of buildings and random scenes around town.

Share this article
linkedIn facebook twitter

Latest perspectives

See all
Baumberger Studio Final 2022 0321

DCI Project Featured at 2024 Mass Timber Conference & in New Short Film

1510 Webster Street straightened

1510 Webster Street: An All-Around, Mass Timber First

Heartwood Exterior

The ABCs of Tall Mass Timber