RTSC: Another Successful Year, Another Successful Conference!

Auditor Suzanne Bump

Linda Spears, Commissioner of the Department of Children and Families.

Attendees in a workshop.

Keynote speaker Steve

By Mary-Beth Landy
Trainer, Support and Recruitment Specialist
Recruitment, Training, and Support Center (RTSC) for Special Education Surrogate Parents

Wow, what a year it has been! The Recruitment, Training and Support Center for Special Education Surrogate Parents (RTSC) has been in the forefront of a lot of changes and growth at the Federation.

We welcomed Ivone Rego as our new Project Associate, and Eileen Sandberg, as our Training and Support Specialist for Eastern Massachusetts. I have moved from the Boston office to Western Massachusetts. Renee Williams continues as our steadfast Project Director leading us through all of these transitions, while Jean Willoughby continues to serve as our Outreach and Recruitment Specialist.

While we continue to seek and train volunteers throughout the year, one particular time really stands out for the project and for many individuals who work tirelessly for the most vulnerable youth in our state. That would be RTSC’s Making a Difference Conference. This year’s conference was a huge success. I find that the timing of the conference is ideal, as it is just before Thanksgiving. And what better time to have an event that says “thank you” to all the wonderful volunteers who assist our students?

This year’s conference hosted fabulous speakers, such as Steve Pemberton, author of “A Chance In The World” and Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer for Walgreens. Steve shared his life’s story of growing up in the foster-care system, in a way that was, as one attendee put it: “An inspiration to all! Be a lighthouse in someone else’s life!”

Over 200 attendees soaked in the information from nine workshops as well as a variety of other speakers including State Auditor Suzanne Bump, Commissioner Linda Spears from the Department of Children and Families (DCF), and Timothy Gallagher from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).

I want to say a special thanks to everyone at the Federation and the Special Education Surrogate Parent Program (SESPP/EDCO) for your assistance and support in making this day happen. This is a program and conference that is vital to the support of individuals working with our students. I cannot put it better than one presenter, who said, “Both the FCSN and SESPP/RTSC are close to my heart as I feel it is vital that parents and SESPs have training and support for their roles as it is so demanding and dynamic. DCF students need more than a village – they need a whole metropolis!”

So as the New Year begins, take some time to reflect on all of the good work that you do for students throughout the commonwealth. The RTSC Project wishes you all a Happy New Year!.