Sheri Cody is the executive director of Twin Cedars Youth and Family Services, Inc. We sat down with her to talk about her job and why she loves the community:
LDN: Are you originally from Troup County/LaGrange?
Cody: No. I moved to Harris County from Virginia when I was 13. I left Harris County when I went off to college and in the early years of my marriage and then we came back here. After about four years, we moved back to Harris County, we’ve been here ever since.
LDN: Tell us about your family.
Cody: I come from a family of five and all of us still live around here … I’ve been married to my (husband) Jeff, who I knew in high school, but didn’t date in high school. We’ll be married 34 years on June 9. We have one daughter, Jesse … she lives in Stanford, Connecticut.
LDN: How did you get involved in Twin Cedars?
Cody: A friend of mine worked with me at the Bradley Center in Columbus and she left and went to Twin Cedars. It’s one of those things where I was really happy where I was, and if there was anywhere else that I would have gone, the only place was Twin Cedars. She called me one day and said “Twin Cedars is creating a new position,” and she said “it’s got your name written all over it. You need to apply for this position.” I called Mike (Angstadt, former executive director) and talked to him about what he was looking for and then filled out the application, went through the interview process and was selected.
It was the deputy director position, they had never had that position before. That allowed Mike to have more of the external focus because he had somebody on the inside making sure all the pieces were operating smoothly.
LDN: What do you enjoy about your job?
Cody: You’ve got this hierarchy, and you’ve got your board (at the top) and your leadership team (below) and all your staff and the kids, but my feeling is you need to flip that over. And so the whole thing (flips over), and so the board and I are there to support the staff who support the kids because we’re all here to take care of Georgia’s children and all of the children in our community.
LDN: What are some of the challenges of your job?
Cody: Well, legislatively and executively we don’t always get what we want because the pie’s only so big and there’s lot of people who want a piece of it. Like this year when we were talking to people at the legislature, there were a lot of people who were in line behind us who were asking for money for equally important things in the state of Georgia.
LDN: Why do you like LaGrange?
Cody: Our community really helps us take care of the kids.
Behind the Mask, which got lots of publicity in the first quarter of the year, the child abuse awareness event that we do here, other events that other community agencies here do — this community is really supportive of taking care of the kids here and helping us to do that.
When we’re not able to get what we need at the state level, the local level works with us and we’re able to fill a lot of needs that way.
LaGrange is a small town community compared to some of the other towns where Twin Cedars is located, but they’re really a generous town in terms of their time and their talents and their resources and doing things with and for our kids.
LDN: How do you see LaGrange changing in the future?
Cody: I think that we have laid good groundwork over the last several years to have the probability of creating a more unified LaGrange.
I think The Thread is a concrete, but also a symbolic idea of unity in terms of it’s going to connect all of these different neighborhoods together and everybody can walk through each other’s neighborhoods. But we’ve also done the racial reconciliation, so more and more people are coming to the table to look at that. We’ve already got the socioeconomic growth going on, and we’ve already got a lot of social service growth and things that are happening…it seems like the next piece is to just work together to create a unified LaGrange as we move forward so that we have a community that we can all be proud of and that everyone feels a sense of inclusion in that their voice counts, so they’ve been invited to be at the table too.