Our Trauma-Informed Star, From Beginning to End

Most people in the agency have had some interaction with Ron Klemp, the occupational therapist for SaintA. He has worked directly with the staff and boys in our Residential Treatment, Care Coordination and Treatment Foster Care programs. He has been an ever present smiling face, entertaining staff and residents with his magic tricks, his beautiful garden (which he created as a therapeutic endeavor with the boys) and his most recent brainstorm, selling smoothies to staff once a week to help hone the boys’ basic knowledge of business.

Janice Brovet
Janice Brovet

I have always thought of Ron as a trauma informed super star. His patient ways and consistent behavior have been his hallmark and the basis of trauma informed care in practice.

As sad as we are that he recently left us for a job out of state, his departure has been, once again, an A-plus and a wonderful example of trauma informed care in action. He gave the residents just enough time, but not too much, to hear of his leaving for Las Vegas. Ron made time to talk with the boys about his leaving in groups and one-on-one settings. Considering that Ron has been such a great role model, mentor, teacher, leader (and an occupational therapist) for this group of boys and adolescents, I am sure his leaving has impacted the residents.

In return, the boys in Margaret Hetzel’s classroom all made going away cards for Ron to give him on his last day of work. Each child took the time, put in the effort, used their creativity and had a chance to express their emotions about his leaving. Ron showed some of his co-workers these cards, and each one of us got a laugh, or got teary eyed at the boys’ responses.

Here is just a glimpse of what the boys wrote about Ron:

Ron Klemp
Ron Klemp helping serve up smoothies.

“Thank you for making us smile. Thanks Ron for helping us be friends and get along together. We really appreciate you even though you are leaving. I will always remember you in my heart.”

“My friend Ron I liked learning magic tricks with you. I’ll miss you and good luck in Vegas.”

“Dear Ron, I hope you have a good time in Las Vegas. I hope you like the mountains.”

“Thank you Ron. I hope you will be a magician someday.”

“Thanks for teaching us how to cook. You’re the master chef.”

“I’m excited for you. I’ll miss you.”

“I’ll miss you in a galaxy far, far away.”

“Thank you for helping me learn new things.”

“Thank you for all the groups. Thank you for letting us earn points and buy things with them. I will miss you. I hope you have good times!”

All of these personal emotions were hand written on cards made into the shape of hearts, stars, Lego pieces, Yoda and other Star Wars creatures, Army men, flowers, geometric patterns, a “Ron the Woofster Dog” and a card with a beard.

I think Ron’s departure has not left a void in these children’s lives, as he has clearly given them experiences they will always remember. His relationship with them has gone full circle, and what the boys have learned about relationships, from beginning to end, will stay with them always.

Thanks Ron for your excellence in creating relationships with the residents, thanks for sharing your expertise and creativity with staff, children and families in learning regulatory skills, thanks for using your “Nurturing Heart” perspective, and thanks for showing us that trauma informed care CAN be done, from start to finish.


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