It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of one of our agency’s founding heroes: Janet Karnes. Janet, along with Susie Schmidt and Kathi Kinnett, were ahead of their time when they founded Services to Area Youth in 1989. Although our agency’s name has changed, the original mission of empowering families and providing support and education to those in need remains the same.
Janet was a powerful force who inspired those around her to persist in meeting challenges in order to remain focused on a central mission: enhancing the lives of others. She had a gift of connecting – with families, with staff and with funders in order to successfully build an agency which has stood the test of time. Our home visitors have completed approximately 60,000 home visits since becoming a lead agency provider of Every Child Succeeds, a partnership forged through Janet’s efforts.
Those of us that knew Janet and those whose lives she has touched (many not even knowing they benefit today from her vision of the past) have suffered an enormous loss. In searching for a way to appropriately acknowledge her contributions to this community, we do as we have done since 1989. We use her words to guide us:
The time has come for me to go. I have no fear. I am a strong believer in reincarnation and believe we have lived many, many lives. For those I helped in some way as a social worker, know that it has been my honor to walk the path with you. Flowers, memorials? Plant a flower or conduct an act of kindness for someone.
Thank you, Janet!