Midland, TEXAS (Big 2/Fox 24) – All month long, ABC Big 2 News is highlighting local women who are making a real difference in their community. One of those local women has been a regular on Good Morning Basin to share mental health tips. Kristi Edwards is the CEO and Executive Director for the mental health nonprofit Centers for Children and Families in Midland. Behind every door in the halls of Centers is somebody waiting to help. Executive Director and CEO Kristi Edwards works tirelessly to make sure everyone gets the help they need.
“”You’re never going to get rich working for a nonprofit, but you’re going to go home probably every day saying ‘I have made a difference,’ ” says Centers for Children and Families Executive Director and CEO Kristi Edwards.
Edwards started off working in the oil industry, but her husband encouraged her to do what she really loves.
“My husband looked at me one day and he said, ‘Is this- can you see yourself doing this for the next 20 years?’ And I said no. He said, ‘Then you need to go do what you always wanted to do,'” says Edwards.
She switched careers with three children at home and worked her way up from an intern 20 years ago, to her role now as CEO. Edwards is where she is because of her passion, and her leadership to make the organization run smoothly.
“She is the guiding star for all of that, and she’s also fun and funny to be around,” says Centers for Children and Families Grants Director Cookie Wetendorf.
Edwards and her team have advocated for mental health, going to Austin to raise awareness. She has received dedications and awards, but those are nothing in comparison toe the reward she gets from helping others.
” Whenever you become involved in someone’s life, it’s not like you walk away and your don’t ever think about them until the next time they come in your door. So you know, you go and try to research things that might help them. You pray for them, if you’re a praying person, and you hope for the best and you want to do a good job for them. So yeah, I mean, there are time I cry wit my clients.” says Edwards.
A true test of her strength and her coworkers was responding to last year’s mass shooting.
” We were boots on the ground talking to people, our therapists were out. She was out. We’re very much available for crisis scenarios, and that is all led by Kristi Edwards,” says Centers for Children and Families Marketing & Development Director Melanie Saiz.
Kristi and her team are there around the clock to help anyone who needs it. One way she’s gotten through the time times is through the love of her family. She keeps their pictures at her desk. Edwards also treats her staff like family.
” She makes us better versions of ourselves, as professionals and as individual people and that’s who Kristi is,” says Wetendorf.
Edwards says her proudest professional moment was starting the Centers Solutions podcast, which she says can be a source to fellow West Texans.
” We can never give up trying to fight the battle of: Please know that your mental health is important as your physical health,” says Edwards.
Not all CEOs take on the work they used to have, but Edwards still sees clients while overseeing Centers operations. She insisted that she be able to follow her heart and make a difference in her clients’ lives.
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