South San Francisco, CA December 18, 2020 by Aubrey Merriman, CEO, BGCNSM
Unbelievable! That’s the word comes to mind when I think about the last 9 months. There are others…like unprecedented, extraordinary, and “new normal.” And, what a 9 months it’s been. This moment provides such a profound call to courageous leadership for each of us as we ride the waves of these historic times. How we respond, how we step in, and what we choose will have impacts for a long time to come. Boys & Girls Clubs of North San Mateo understands this firsthand.
This is the season when you’ll see holiday cards and hear messages like “Happy Holidays,” “Merry Christmas;” “Happy Hanukkah,” and “Happy Kwanza.” Yet ,the holidays are not “happy” or “merry” for families who coped with death during the year, or who have been robbed of their usual holiday traditions and gatherings by COVID-19.
In fact, in 2020 all of us are grieving in one or more ways. Some have “primary losses” – a loved one died, a business failed, a wage-earner was furloughed or laid off, or a home burned in the wildfires, etc. These grieving people require particular sensitivity. Even those without primary losses, though, are dealing with some form of grief, for example:
- The inability to gather with family and friends
- Loss of security and safety
- Learning how to work remotely and/or become in-home tutors to kids who are schooling remotely
- Mitigating learning loss, social isolation, and trauma for kids challenged by schooling remotely
- Estranged relationships over issues like politics, race, and inequality
- Staggering COVID-19 infection rates in communities of color
- Shattering of plans and dreams for the spring, summer or fall (including graduations, weddings, vacations, special events and festivals, and now having to let go of many long-standing holiday traditions that can’t happen this year)
As I’m sure you can imagine, this list could go on for pages. I hope the holidays offer much needed time for rest and an opportunity for some deep reflection on your leadership evolution, as well as setting your course for 2021. What has this time of crisis and disruption taught you? What lessons will you carry forward? What will you let go of?
Please find ways to take care of yourselves…. this certainly is a time to acknowledge your grief, appreciate silver linings, and turn to mindfulness practice, community engagement and breaks from the news cycle (and maybe a little Netflix, podcast or ice cream?) to stay sane and balanced. This holiday season is unlike any other, to cap off a year unlike any other. Throughout this season, and as we move into a new (and hopefully better) year, I wish you moments of peace amid the difficulties, connections with family and friends even if they can’t be in person, the warmth of memories from holidays past, and wonderful glimpses of the joy that still lives under the surface.
Thank you for your commitment and dedication. Thank you for your compassion, collaboration, and courage. Thank you for providing the strength that you give to so many, and, perhaps, most importantly, thank you for bringing light during these times of uncertainty, grief, and fear. May your holidays be healthy and meaningful. I am thankful for the opportunities we’ve had to connect and will have over 2021.
Please stay safe, healthy, and sane – the service you offer continues to change the world the best ways any holiday card could inspire.
With gratitude and appreciation,
Chief Executive Officer
Boys & Girls Clubs of North San Mateo County
201 W. Orange Ave. | South San Francisco, CA 94080
Our mission is to inspire and enable young people to realize their full potential and contribute to their communities
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the human specie will survive, although
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millennials and their parents have displayed the worst of our faults, the
whole ideal will be just a conversational
piece, if remembered at all, for the next
generation – Mel Perry