I’ve written many intros to our weekly editions of the Ally since we began publishing it in April 2020. This one is particularly sweet to me. The day this newsletter hits your inbox is the tenth anniversary of my starting my job as the executive director of Families as Allies. My mind is flooded with memories and my heart overflows with gratitude.
I am thankful for the full-time and contractual staff of Families as Allies: Coreaner Price, Henry Moore, Dominic DeLeo, Jackie Taylor and Nikki Flippins. They are united in their belief in our mission. I’m grateful to the board of Families as Allies, their leadership and their unwavering commitment to Mississippi’s system of care being family-driven. I appreciate all of the board presidents I have served with and what they taught me: Katherine Clarke, Sylvia Leggette, Carlyn Hicks and our current board president, George Stewart.
I am grateful for each person who is reading this newsletter and the ways that you support families, Families as Allies and me. I am especially thankful for each family who is part of us.
I am reminded of Tessie and the legacy and memories she left. I’ve often said that I’ll never be able to fill her shoes, but it is both humbling and a privilege to follow in her footsteps. I appreciate all of us working together to keep those footsteps going in the right direction.
It is touching to look at the articles in this week’s newsletter through the lens of the last ten years. When I started this job, my first goal was to develop a comprehensive parent peer support training program based on the competencies of the National Federation of Families and to implement it in partnership with state partners. There have been quite a few twists and turns in the journey but the curriculum is now implemented in more than one system, and we are reaching out to support those working with peer supporters as well.
A few weeks after I started this job, I asked how we sent out policy information to families so they could give input into it. I was surprised to learn that we didn’t have a way to do that. I am glad that we now have ways to share policy information with families and all of you, and there seems to be increased buy-in to the importance of families always having a say in the policies that affect their children.
It is especially touching to celebrate the retirement of my dear friend and colleague, Dr. Linda West, on the day of my ten-year anniversary. Linda and I have worked side by side on many projects for many years. She is a champion for families always being at the table. I am thankful for her support and inspiration. I wish her the very best.
Thank you all very much for the last ten years. I look forward to continuing the journey.