Celebration with honor

Youth Shelter Care celebrated Sunday both its 35-year anniversary and the start of a new service, the Krueger Counseling Center.

“Almost to the date, June 17th, 1979, YSC was born,” Jim Seward, YSC executive director, said. “Today we celebrate 35 years of existence, and besides that we also birth a new program within YSC.”

Seward honored the center’s namesake, Dee Krueger, who from 1979 to 1999 served as YSC’s first executive director. Her vision helped “house and grow thousands of children.”

“For 20 years she assisted in the physical plant growth, moving this organization from its original house to this location, and also professional growth, placing many in positions that at that time assisted in the growth and desires of the agencies’ missions,” he said.

In May 2013, YSC earned its accreditation to provide psychotherapy services through Magellan Health Services.

“We are now on their panel as a provider of mental health, and we are considered an option for the community of Fort Dodge and the surrounding areas,” Seward said. “Knowing the community would have a difficult time accepting going to therapy at Youth Shelter Care, I wanted to create a safe place to talk for our clients with a name that is familiar and meaningful to YSC.”

Krueger, with tears in her eyes, told the gathering of more than 50, including family and past and present YSC staff, that she was humbled by the honor.

YSC began with a grant, Krueger explained, in response to concerns voiced by the League of Women Voters, among others. Children who escaped from abuse and neglect at home were picked up by police and placed into detention overnight.

“So here are these abused children now who are going into locked detention for the night, and what an injustice,” she said. “It was a challenge, from February when I was employed, until June. We were due to open June 24th or 26th. We actually got everything accomplished and opened the 17th. It was just a whirlwind.”

Krueger praised the efforts of YSC’s staff, then and continuing today.

“It’s such a good feeling to know there’s so much caring and there’s so much hope to help build the resilience in the children,” she said.

Seward gave Krueger the gifts of an honorary plaque, reading “in gratitude for the 20 years of faithful and outstanding service to Youth Shelter Care,” and a pink YSC staff t-shirt.

In the YSC foyer, joined by family, Krueger cut the ribbon on the new counseling center baring her name.