Exec. director wins big award
LaGRANGE — For Mike Angstadt, executive director of Twin Cedars Youth and Family Services, it would be a sin not to do the most he could to help children.
That dedication led the local agency to be declared “the best of the best” in a review last year by the Council on Accreditation, and Angstadt said he holds other agencies no less accountable for their work. As part of his role with the Council on Accreditation, or COA, he takes those standards to other agencies, reviewing public and private human services agencies, adoption agencies and military family programs.
In a little more than 20 years, he estimated he’s reviewed 70 to 80 of those agencies as part of the COA. In July, his tireless work earned him the 2016 Consuelo Foundation Peer Reviewer Award, an honor given every four years.
“There’s people all over the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Philippines, Puerto Rico that can be chosen. So it’s pretty … humbling,” Angstadt said from Twin Cedars’ Coleman Center in LaGrange last week. “… You continue to try to do the right thing and … you’re not doing it for accolades. You’re doing it because we’ve been called to care for God’s children. All of us have different gifts, and it would be sinful for me not to actualize my potential for the greater good.”
The Consuelo Foundation operates and supports programs in Hawaii and the Philippines that prevent and treat abuse, neglect and exploitation of children, women and families.
“I have served on two site visit teams to review this remarkable foundation and was blessed to meet Patti Lyons (the foundation’s first CEO, serving 1988 to 2006) and experience firsthand the life-changing work that the Consuelo facilities (provide) through the power of collaboration,” states a written speech Angstadt delivered upon receiving the award in New York City at the COA’s national conference in July. “… A cynic once stated that collaboration is an unnatural act carried on by two or more unwilling partners. This couldn’t be further from the truth.”
Angstadt’s review work adds to his already considerable work load — 60 to 70 hour work weeks, he said. Often he spends a weekend and two week days days visiting agencies and military installations across the country for a review.
Despite the amount of time it takes, Angstadt said the Twin Cedars board and his wife have been supportive of the work and accommodate it into his hectic schedule. He feels strongly about the necessity to provide guidance and ensure agencies are following the highest standards and best practices to help children and families.
“It’s really important for agencies to be accredited,” he told the Daily News. “I think funders need to be mindful that accreditation is another check and balance of the credibility and ethical and financial good standing of a private not-for-profit, and I’d encourage other private not-for-profits to seek out accreditation.”
Twin Cedars and connected agencies are all accredited, noted Angstadt, including Camp Viola and Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA.
“Our school at the Bradfield Center is AdvancEd/SACS — Southern Association of Colleges and Schools — accredited,” Angstadt said. “It’s difficult, and it was costly. But there was an African-American leader in town … who once told me, ‘Mike, don’t give a child a half a loaf when you can give him a full loaf.’ Those words just warmed my soul, and that’s what we need to do to ensure that we’re providing the best.”