Karina Rusk frequently reported on the health and emotional needs of children and through her storytelling conveyed relevant information by capturing the human impact of the news headline. As a broadcast journalist, working with respected news outlets in a career spanning decades, Rusk was passionate about creating awareness and improving the health and wellbeing of children. She also made a point of volunteering with nonprofits serving children and promoting missions having a positive impact on the lives of young people.
During her journalism career, Karina Rusk reported for a number of network affiliated broadcast stations including ABC, NBC, CBS, and PBS and made contributions to CNN. In her current career as a communications executive, Rusk continues to volunteer with a number of nonprofit organizations throughout the year and encourages support of their important goals. She spent decades with Special Olympics in both Monterey County and Silicon Valley; is immensely dedicated to the important work of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Monterey County, which empowers local youth; and has been a long advocate for Kinship Center, a member of Seneca Family of Agencies.
“Kinship Center builds adoptive and other families where children can heal from past abuse or neglect and grow to healthy adulthood,” says Karina Rusk. “Kinship Center’s core mantra is every child deserves a home and they work tirelessly to support children and the families who nurture them.”
Since 1984, Kinship Center has helped build and strengthen families for thousands of children of all ages. Many of the children face significant challenges such as trama, disabilities, large sibling groups and drug affected babies. These are children who can no longer remain safely with their birth parents because of abuse and neglect, those who have been abandoned, and also those who are voluntarily relinquished for adoption as infants by their birth parents. The organization’s commitment is to permanent rather than temporary solutions, as decades of research have shown that children need stable, permanent families in order to thrive.
Kinship Center is headquartered in Salinas, California with facilities and services in eleven Southern California, Central Coast and Northern California counties. In 2011, Kinship Center joined with Seneca Center, another highly respected California youth-serving nonprofit, to form Seneca Family of Agencies. The following year, another child and family agency, Canyon Acres, brought its programs to Kinship Center, creating a 3-way merger that strengthens programs and services for children and families throughout California.
Kinship Center has created programs and services over the years to meet the full range of children’s needs, including children with past trauma, and to support the adults who step forward to provide them safe “forever families.” The dedicated staff offer pre and post-adoption training giving new parents the tools they need to help children overcome the scars of their troubled pasts. The ultimate goal is to build and sustain strong families that give children a second chance at life and that are an asset to the community.
Kinship Center been honored nationally for life-changing outcomes for more than 2,500 children each year through a variety of programs, including adoption, therapeutic foster care, kinship (relative) care, mental health services for children and families, intensive support for families in crisis, prevention programs to keep children out of child welfare, and nationally recognized education and training for parents and professionals.
In her years volunteering for Kinship Center, Karina Rusk has seen incredible results and many first hand success stories. Zachary is one such example. The four year old experienced profound neglect and abuse at the hands of parents grappling with addiction and their own histories of trauma. From the start, Zachary’s parents were unable to provide the care and attention he needed to grow and thrive. He was often left to fend for himself, which meant hunger, lack of safety, and a mounting sense of being unloved.
Heartbreakingly, what was best for Zachary and his family was for him to be removed from his home and placed in the foster care system. Kinship Center was contacted and quickly paired Zachary with a foster family who showed him unconditional love and provided a safe place where he could begin healing from the trauma he had experienced. Zachary is now thriving – his gentle personality glows through his sweet smile. His favorite thing to do is play outside and watch birds in his backyard.
“It’s a powerful organization, having a dramatic impact on not only the lives of children in need, but also entire families who answer the call to be a permanent home,” says Karina Rusk. “Kinship Center offers groundbreaking solutions to children in crisis and I’m proud to support the work they are doing and the lives they are transforming.”