As a high school principal for nearly three decades, Dick Warner tried to foster a “safe harbor” environment, where every student would feel like there was at least one person who cared, one person they could go to for help. That’s the sort of environment The Village provides to the communities it serves, says Warner, a longtime supporter of the organization.
“Here’s a place where you can get help,” he says. “And if they can’t give you the help, they’ll find a place that can.”
Warner has served on The Village’s Board of Directors or its various committees since 2003. He was introduced to The Village by his colleague Jay Bergquist, who lived in the North Dakota Children’s Home. Warner was adopted as an infant in New York.
“It’s a group that works with adoption, families, and youth, what I’ve done my entire life,” Warner says. “It meshed well with my personal and professional background.” He was also familiar with The Village Business Institute’s Employee Assistance Program through his workplace.
Warner describes The Village as an organization driven by its mission, to make a difference in people’s lives, and says its greatest strength is the dedicated staff who deliver its programs across North Dakota and Minnesota. It’s a multifaceted agency that responds to the needs of the many communities it serves, he says.
“Everybody knows somebody who has a struggle, whether it be a family situation, a financial situation, a school situation…a single parent who needs somebody to be a Big to their Little,” Warner says.
What The Village does for people in those situations, he says, is provide hope, opportunity, and love – gifts of kindness that often get lost or forgotten in today’s fast-paced world.
“It’s giving somebody else an opportunity to experience some success and caring that they might not have otherwise experienced. I think that’s what our dollars go toward,” Warner says. “Struggle is a part of what happens in life, but there is an opportunity for a positive outcome,” he adds. “The Village can help make that happen.”