Postel turns a love for kids into a passion to help
It could be said that Tina Postel has adopted 5,000 kids over the years. Officially, she is a mother of one, but unofficially, many more children have captured her attention and her heart.
Postel has worked for Orchard Place for eight years, and during that time, she has developed a strong passion for touching the lives of all the kids served by that organization, which focuses on children’s mental health and juvenile justice issues. Fresh out of the University of Iowa in 1996, Postel knew that she wanted to work with children, and having grown up just down the street from the Orchard Place Residential Campus in Des Moines, she was drawn to it as a way to work with kids and apply her psychology education.
“Since I had grown up near it, I always knew of Orchard Place, but I never knew what Orchard Place was about until I witnessed it firsthand and saw the great impact it has on children,” Postel said.
She started off as a frontline staff member on a treatment floor in residential care, and then worked her way up to a supervisor of Bright House, a residential unit for kids ages 10 to 16. Just last month, she started in her new position of stewardship associate, in which she works to establish connections with members of the community to help build Orchard Place’s services even more.
“I decided to take this jump because my four years at Bright House was an excellent opportunity, and I felt that I made a great impact on the 24 kids in my program,” Postel said. “When I was offered this opportunity, I thought, ‘Well here’s an even bigger opportunity to make a difference, and affect not only 24 lives, but potentially, 4,000 or 5,000 lives.’ And, if anybody is going to go out and educate the community about the needs and wants of Orchard Place, who better than somebody who has worked directly with the children and knows their needs and wants, and knows, specifically, how to help?”
Postel said she is always thinking about her job. Though she already has a lot of kids counting on her to help them through Orchard Place, when she’s grocery shopping or walking down the street, she can’t help looking at the children she passes and wondering, ‘Could they, too, benefit from Orchard Place?’
“The biggest challenge is making sure that every child in need can find their way to Orchard Place and the services that we provide,” she said.
In her new role of representing Orchard Place, Postel said she hopes to educate the community and establish connection between people who want to help and the kids who need them.
“I see Des Moines growing and branching out and doing so many neat things, and I just want to help with that,” Postel said. “Through my job and by establishing partnerships in the community, we can make Des Moines a better community, and hopefully, I can make that happen a little more quickly.”