Leadership Spotlight - Gloria Losh
Please describe your background, and what led you to EA:
We lost our own daughter and were not able to have more children. We had two little boys who needed a sister and we had a huge hole in our hearts. We looked into foster care with the hopes of adopting, which eventually happened. We were also able to take guardianship of another daughter.
We were foster parents for another agency and were not happy with the services they provided. It didn't seem that the kids were the center focus. They even recommended second hand stores where the foster parents could purchase school clothes! We talked to a social worker from EA and decided to make a move. What a difference we experienced when we transferred to this agency! We loved the support and soon learned that EA was all about the kids.
Eventually, our social worker approached us about becoming a group home. We met with Tim Wilkinson to discuss our transition from foster care to group home care. I remember one thing that he said that sold me right then and there. He said, "We want our kids treated right and fed good. When they walk down the street we want them to be dressed nicely, like every other kid." That was so different from how we had seen other group home children treated. We knew immediately that THIS was the agency for us! We had six foster children in our home and decided to take the plunge. We were licensed for six girls in 1996. The rest is history. We are incredibly proud to be associated with an agency that is known for the good care that is given to kiddos in need.
What experiences early in life contributed to your success with EA?
I was raised in a blue collar, "Leave it to Beaver" type of family. My parents were awesome and supported my brother and my every interest. They both helped others and had generous hearts. Both were Scout Leaders and were involved in every part of our lives. My mom made my majorette costumes when I was little and both parents took turns getting me back and forth to the rink when I took lessons six days per week as a young teen. I'd have skated seven days if the rink was open. From hopscotch to making the cheer team in high school, they backed and encouraged my interests. I think their devotion to us taught me how a family should be.
My dad was literally the "red headed step-child" who suffered a horrible and abusive childhood. He was alone in the world by age twelve, breaking horses for room and board with no parental involvement. I wish someone would have stepped up for him. Though he never spoke much about the abuse he suffered, and all that he lacked as a child, it left a deep impression on me and concern for children who had no parents. My mother came from a wonderful, but financially challenged family. I think both of them worked hard to give us everything they didn't have while holding us accountable to be good folks along the way. Their example was what contributed to building a strong family of my (our) own and to eventually open my (our) home to other children in need.
What advice would you give to someone interested in working with youth in foster care?
The strongest advice I can give to a family considering taking foster children in is to check very carefully into the support professionals that will be helping you as your family grows. Experienced, compassionate and knowledgeable agency support is critically important. Find an agency that offers training specific to traumatized children, such as TCI (Therapeutic Crisis Intervention), to help with the challenges that will arise when working with children who you did not biologically create. I think that agency is EA Family Services. I think you will too, after checking into the competition!
What do you enjoy doing when you're not at work?
My favorite thing in the world is my family. My mom is still with us. My kids are the greatest and my grand kids are my treasures. I love spending time with all of them. We laugh a lot. They are fun bunch!
Rick and I still enjoy "dating" after 44 years of marriage and try to get out once a week for a romantic dinner. We are perfectly suited for each other, and I am so lucky to have such a wonderful husband.
I have been camping since I was three months old and still love camping and boating with my family.
I'd like to have more time to sew, but I doubt that will happen in the near future.
What's a hidden talent you have, or something about yourself that would surprise most people?
I had to think about this for a while.
Well, back in the day I was a pretty decent shot. I bagged a buck and a wild boar and other lesser game, but now that I've gotten older, I don't have the heart anymore. I fished a lot as a kid too.
Rick and I still compete like crazy whenever there is something to shoot at. It could be as simple as a silly pellet gun or throwing empty bottles at a trashcan, or whatever. It doesn't matter. One takes a shot or throw and it's on! We're kind of crazy like that!
My early family members were abolitionists. I'm very proud of that. My great grandfather was in the Civil War and was commissioned by General Sherman. Talk about long generations!
Anything else you'd like to add?
Yes. Life is short. Wear red socks!