Longtime Health Educator and Coordinator of Program Development, Doreen Fatula, will be retiring from LifeSmart Youth in October. Doreen has passionately served Indiana kids with LifeSmart Youth since 1996 and has taught over 50,000 youth in her time with us.
Doreen has done it all! She has designed, written, and researched curriculum, coached other Health Educators in their delivery of programs, weathered funding storms, comforted scared kids, encouraged and inspired school partners, lifted up co-workers, won many much-deserved awards, and always did it with a smile and great humility. She has devoted countless hours to ensuring the kids in her classroom were heard, seen, included, and given a voice.
“My work allows me to work, play, teach, and reach from my heart into the daily lives of youth, providing information and support they might never receive in their current life environment. Together, we make a connection based in safety and caring, knowing we can serve each other as we talk, listen, ask, and answer questions, and allow ourselves to express what is needed.”
One might think these skills came with 24 years in the classroom, but here at LifeSmart Youth, we beg to differ. Doreen was born into this work. She has innate skills that helps the youth she serves to connect deeply with the material and with the youth themselves—and together, they have fun doing it.
Doreen’s impact went far beyond the classroom; she transformed the agency. Doreen led by example, focusing primarily on the growth and well-being of her colleagues. She instinctively knew when to check in with each of us to see how she might be of assistance and never failed to do so at the perfect moments. She noticed both the big and little things we do to support one another and made a special effort to give recognition to all of us for this.
Doreen created a special office award, The Water Bottle Flip. During the 2016 Olympics, Australian soccer star Elise Kellond-Knight noticed her teammate, Lisa De Vanna, trying to drink from her water bottle upside-down. Kellond-Knight, within seconds, righted her teammate’s water bottle. Doreen consistently righted our water bottles. For all of these reasons and so many more, Doreen has earned the lifetime Water Bottle Flip Award.
We are forever grateful for the role Doreen has played in changing the lives of the youth and communities we serve, and for changing us all for the better.