Editor’s Note: Lynn Bishop, Executive Director of NAFI Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New York, shared the following 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 and prosperous 2021!
Dear colleagues of NAFI Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New York:
It has been a particularly challenging year, but the inspiration, dedication, resilience, and optimism all of you have displayed over the course of 2020 is truly inspiring, and also surely a sign that brighter days are on the horizon. I know because of the strength I have seen in all of you over the past 10 months as you’ve risen to challenges none of us anticipated. Suddenly, we had children in congregate care settings who weren’t able to visit with their families in person, we had staff unable to provide in-home clinical services and an important sense of connection to families as usual, and so many other difficult situations to figure out. We knew we had to come through for our consumers—and we have!
Working as a true team, and inspired by your creative thinking, we implemented measures such as driveway therapy, we met people in the park, we arranged celebration parades, virtual visits, game nights and recipe swaps, we provided dinner deliveries to our consumers’ families, and we helped foster parents become teachers and IT specialists.
Not even a pandemic could stop the wonderful long-standing traditions of Project Turkey and the Day of Giving. This year, more than ever, families needed our help and our staff, administrators, and young people came together. Through these important events, we provided Thanksgiving dinners, gift cards, holiday gifts, and essential items for children and families in all three states. Altogether our programs throughout Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New York continued to provide hope, smiles, sustenance, and caring despite the challenges, thanks to all of you!
Now the holiday season is here, and so is the second wave of the pandemic. Families are struggling with job losses and deepening mental health concerns. People are feeling isolated and the winter weather will make everything seem more difficult. It’s the time of year when issues such as substance abuse and domestic violence tend to increase, so we need to be vigilant in watching out for the health, wellness, and well-being of others within all of our communities, from our consumers and colleagues to our families and neighbors.
But let’s not forget the importance of finding a sense of joy in what remains a magical time of year despite the challenges. We celebrate this season in different ways with different holidays, including Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Las Posadas, Diwali and Chinese New Year. Our diversity is our strength and it is our shared sense of goodwill toward all people that unites us.
In that spirit, the NAFI team has risen to the challenges presented by the pandemic and maintained the highest levels of care for those we serve, and although we have been socially distanced and working remotely, we have also drawn even closer as colleagues as we have taken care of one another.
Things will get better!
When they do, we will pause to celebrate as the stronger and even more united agency we have become. For now, the leadership team and I want to thank you for everything you do, express our deep appreciation for your dedication and selfless work, and extend our best wishes to you and your families for a safe, healthy, and hopeful holidays!
My sincerest thanks to all of you,
A very proud and humble Executive Director