Editor’s Note: Lynn Bishop, Executive Director of NAFI Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New York, shared this end of the year holiday message with colleagues, and we would like to share it with you. Wishing everyone a safe, healthy, and joyful holidays and a hopeful 2022!
Dear colleagues of NAFI Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New York:
As the holiday season and advent of a new year bring the promise of new possibilities and positive change, something magical also happens in a matter of seconds each afternoon—the light grows stronger, the sun shines a little brighter, and the daylight lingers a bit longer.
The brightness of that promise symbolizes how I feel in reaching out to wish everyone in the NAFI Connecticut, New York, and Rhode Island family good health, good cheer, and happiness as we celebrate in different ways and with different holidays, including Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Las Posadas, Diwali and Chinese New Year.
We’re poised to end another year shaped in many ways by COVID, which has presented ongoing and new challenges, requiring us to adapt, transition, and make changes, but 2021 also offered sustaining affirmation for our mission and more than a few high points.
In January, we rolled out our new Strategic Plan, which, for the first time ever, delineated initiatives across all three states. In spring, just as we celebrated Foster Care Awareness month, the agency launched a simple online application process for prospective foster parents with the goal of finding more loving families for children and teens in need. This year we also partnered with a leading expert in the field of DE&I as we look to expand our purview and enhance inclusive and equitable workplaces and service environments.
We were recognized by Human Rights Campaign’s All Children-All Families for our best practices in serving LGBTQIA+ families and children in foster care, and NAFI CT was named a Top Workplace for a sixth consecutive year. We received significant new grant funding allowing us to diversify and bring in new and innovative programming, and we were accredited by the Council on Accreditation for the first time as a tri-state organization!
Buoyed by that momentum, we move into 2022 with optimism for the opportunities that lie ahead and with great purpose—and the pinnacle of our purpose is … all of you, as always.
This holiday message is primarily a way of thanking our talented, dedicated staff across three states for continued flexibility, sacrifice, and resilience in what was another challenging year. Throughout it all, we continued to provide our vital services: working to keep families intact, helping young people transition safely and successfully into adulthood, helping individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities achieve greater levels of independence, helping children and teens find permanent family connections through our therapeutic foster care programs, and so much more.
In carrying out this vital mission together, we are united as a strong, proud, and diverse team that shares high levels of compassion, dedication, passion, and, yes, the optimism embodied by those extra seconds of daylight we cherish every day after the Winter Solstice Dec. 21—the brief flash that hope is ascendent.
Embrace that hope, and have a safe, healthy, and peaceful holiday season with your families and loved ones.
Best wishes, and my sincerest thanks to all of you!
A very proud and humble Executive Director