In recent weeks, Groundwork Ohio has published a “Get to Know Groundwork” series, spotlighting members of our amazing team! This week, we’re getting to know Lindsay Ciavarelli, Director of Groundwork’s Center for Maternal & Young Child Health. Lindsay joined Groundwork Ohio in April 2022.
Lindsay brings to Groundwork over 12 years in the nonprofit and public health sectors improving outcomes for children, mothers, and families. From significant experience providing hands-on child welfare services, to overseeing a complex system of home visiting to decrease the alarming infant mortality rate, Lindsay has remained steadfast in her commitment to building and sustaining programs that positively affect families in real time. Most recently, Lindsay served as a Senior Manager of Business Development and Government Relations with the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, assisting to scale programming across the U.S. and Canada to help children in foster care find permanency through adoption.
Check out our Q&A with Lindsay to learn more about why she’s a passionate advocate for young children and families in Ohio!
Q: What drew you to early childhood policy research and advocacy? Tell us more about your “why”!
A: My career trajectory has always been in the “helping” field but has taken a natural shift upstream, from providing direct services to policy research and advocacy. Starting out in child welfare as a caseworker, I saw the outcomes for families, and I began to think about early intervention and prevention. I transitioned into a role leading a home visiting program in the hope of getting in front of the curve while mothers are pregnant, and slowly began to realize that was not the starting point of the story. Families reach certain outcomes – good or bad – because of the systems, policies, and constructs around us. I feel honored to use my voice to lift up the stories and experiences of families that feel they are not heard and make real change for the community I love.
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received or a lesson that you’ve learned that has helped you in this work?
A: Never to lose sight of who you are – personally or professionally. Not everyone will agree with your position or opinion, but if you come to the table with good intentions and a kind heart, you will either lead or learn.
Q: Groundwork Ohio’s word for 2022 is ELEVATE. What’s your word for 2022?
A: BRAVE. As individuals and families, the last two years has been challenging for us in every possible way. The pandemic is not over yet, but we are starting to feel this reawakening and getting back to the things and people we love. I am trying to be brave and look to policy and legislation that can help families be successful in the next chapter of life.
Q: When you aren’t advocating on behalf of young children and families, what do you enjoy doing?
A: I have two young boys ages 6 and 8, and our days are full of parks, hikes, soccer, and being outside together as much as possible. An average summer night consists of a fire outside, kids on the trampoline, and chatting with neighbors. I’m lucky to be able to lead a pretty simple life.
Q: Describe a scene from your vision of the future for Ohio’s youngest children and their caregivers.
A: Being a mom is the most important part of me, and I want for all of Ohio’s children the same thing I want for my boys: to grow up with every opportunity to make their wildest dreams come true. To feel supported enough to make mistakes, and to have an equitable opportunity to pursue greatness.