Our minds often turn to thankfulness at this time of the year. I am thankful to be the executive director of Families as Allies and have the honor and privilege to know and work with many wonderful people every day. These are some of the things for which I am thankful:
- I am thankful for every family who is part of us – Whether you come to every activity we have or just check out our news, you’re sharing one of the most precious things you have – the journey of your child and family. I know how precious my child and family are to me. That you would share yours with us and become part of us is both touching and humbling. I commit to you that we will treat your trust in us with the respect and thoughtfulness that it deserves.
- I am thankful for our board and employees who make this all possible – The flexibility, grace and humor with which everyone approached the past few months to meet the unexpected and unprecedented challenges of COVID encouraged me and at times astounded me. I found out later that a few things I asked our staff to do early on astounded them. But they just did them – and did them well. I am grateful for that type of determinations and commitment in the face of adversity.
- I am thankful for all of our partners – As difficult as the past few months have been, Families as Allies has had more opportunities than ever to work with new partners and state systems. It has also been exciting to see how many of those new partners have approached us with the idea of wanting to change systems to be more responsive to families rather than thinking families should learn to be more compliant with systems. I am grateful for those kinds of changing perspectives in the state.
- I am thankful for all of you who encourage us and join us along the way – I am continually touched by how many people offer their help and support to Families as Allies. Whether it’s coming to an event, sharing information with a family, partnering on a project or simply sharing an encouraging word, so many of you make a difference to us. I am grateful for you.
- I am thankful to know that it is okay to not feel thankful sometimes- Holidays that are supposed to be filled with warm feelings can be lonely and heartbreaking, especially when things are not going well with your child or when your family and those close to you don’t understand your journey with your child. Families as Allies gets that. We will stand with you, no matter what you are feeling or how alone your world feels. That is my promise to you.
With my sweetest and warmest thoughts today and always –