If you know anything about Thornwell, you know Lindy Scott. She’s been a leading contributor behind the organization’s staying power and mission to build strong families. If you know anything about Lindy Scott, you wouldn’t be surprised to learn that she was awarded the Teaching-Family Association’s Outstanding Achievement in Human Services award recently. The award is an Association-wide award given to honor the recipient for their advocacy and support of children and families. This month, as Lindy celebrates the fortieth anniversary of the beginning of her career, it’s more than appropriate for the Thornwell family to celebrate Lindy and her leadership and service to children and families across South Carolina and beyond.
Lindy Scott, Thornwell’s Executive Vice President, began her career at Thornwell immediately after earning her undergraduate degree at Erskine. After hearing about Connie Maxwell Children’s Home as a child, Lindy decided that was where she wanted to work when she became an adult. Upon graduation from Erskine, she had a goal of becoming a Dean of Students—but, according to Lindy, once you come to Thornwell, it gets in your blood. Lindy left Thornwell briefly to earn her Master’s degree, but she soon returned to the same job she vacated not many years earlier. As a Social Worker, where Lindy’s career began, she thrived on daily contact with kids and says it’s part of what she still loves most about Thornwell. “I’ve seen Thornwell emerge and evolve from the orphanage era, when Guardians brought children here and they stayed for many years. That was how it was done then, but our world is much different now. Today, we have a Continuum of Care approach that enables us to come alongside families and children at any stage of life; it’s a choice we’ve made to stay relevant and also honor our mission of serving Christ by serving children and families,” said Scott.
When asked about a favorite story or accomplishment over her career, it’s hard for Lindy to name just one. Talking to her makes you feel as if she personally impacted each child and family that has been served by Thornwell. In fact, she probably has. Lindy spoke of reconnecting a former Thornwell child resident and her Sponsor over thirty years after the child graduated. This reunion occurred during the 125th anniversary of Thornwell. Lindy spoke of students who became pastors, nurses, military officers, lawyers, and youth workers after calling Thornwell home as children. Lindy also acknowledged not every child or family served by Thornwell has the happy ending we all crave.
It is likely for this reason that Lindy shows no signs of stopping. She believes in the evolution and hard choices Thornwell is navigating to continue to be equipped to serve children and families in the new political and societal landscape that Thornwell now operates in.
Every May, we celebrate Foster Care Awareness Month, and in this season, it takes on an even deeper meaning. During Covid-19, state agencies are recognizing a decrease in child abuse reports. But that does not signify a reprieve from the pre-existing child and family welfare crisis. Instead, children are isolated in their homes and away from schools, daycares, or other places where they typically have access to an entire community of support—the same support system who can help if they are experiencing abuse, violence, or neglect.
Lindy reminds us why the work Thornwell does is so important, “COVID-19 brings even more vulnerability to children and families in need—financial instability, food insecurities, and closures bring added stressors to families. It’s hard to be a parent right now.” Lindy spoke of Thornwell’s commitment to these children and families, “We’re serving on the front lines. We are building families, even in the midst of crisis. It’s what we do.”
“We’re serving on the front lines. We are building families, even in the midst of crisis. It’s what we do.”
As Thornwell’s mission statement reminds us, Thornwell is committed to preventing child abuse and neglect, building up and reuniting families, and supporting healthy communities in the name of Jesus Christ. Nowhere is that more evident than when you speak with Lindy Scott and hear her talk about the constant drive to find the best way to serve children and heal families. In Scott’s words, “The possibilities are great for us, we just have to keep capitalizing on opportunities. We are good at dreaming of new ways to help children and families and making those dreams a reality. After 145 years, that is pretty awesome.”
Awesome, indeed. Congratulations, Lindy Scott, for earning the Teaching-Family Association’s Outstanding Achievement in Human Services Award and thank you for forty years of service to the children and families of Thornwell.