Leadership Spotlight: Jim Hardee
Please describe your background, and what led you to EA:
I've worked with youth for most of my life, starting in high school at summer camps and other youth organizations. The folks who started EA had been running the Plumas County shelter home, so when they left, I was recruited to fill the vacancy. I had several chats with Dan and Pat Dorris, so when I found the county supervisors to be less than supportive, Pat offered me a childcare worker position in the new group home. When the FFA started up, I became the social worker and the rest, as they say, is history.
What experiences early in life contributed to your success with EA?
Like the qualities EA looks for in foster parents, I've always had a knack for dealing with young people. I suppose it germinates from being on summer camp staffs which led to my studies in school and beyond. But that innate nature seems to have been a pretty big factor in who I've become.
What advice would you give to someone interested in working with youth in foster care?
I think it is important to keep in mind that people tend to do the best they can with the resources they have. Some of the folks with whom we cross trails have truly limited resources, whether that is socially, mentally, financially, or whatever. Growing up, my parents always stressed looking to find and accept the smallest things in others that I could relate to - those little unifying attributes that help unify us all.
What do you enjoy doing when you're not at work?
I am a history enthusiast, particularly the early nineteenth century. I have written three books about that era, numerous magazine articles, and I speak at symposiums across the nation. I ride my bicycle when I can and I'm a big movie buff.
What's a hidden talent you have, or something about yourself that would surprise most people?
If I answered that, it wouldn't be hidden anymore...
Anything else you'd like to add?
I relocated to eastern Idaho about 12 years ago but still maintain involvement with EA. This picture was taken in my front yard a few years ago.