What a year?! I’m envisioning many exclamation points for 2020, and also realizing that “What a year?!” can be a reflection of what was, as well as an intention/vision for what is to be. As a holiday message, our team thought we would offer favorite moments from 2020, share our holiday traditions, present a vision/intention for 2021, and spotlight some nonprofits we’ve supported throughout the year.
Favorite Story of 2020: One of my most favored memories from 2020 was pre-Covid when I would see my mom sitting in the lobby of her Continuing Care Community. As I approached her and she recognized me, she would smile the biggest smile and invite me to “come sit on mommy’s lap!” She was 88 yrs old and fragile; I was 60 yrs. old and heavier than when I was a child. One day, I decided to ignore any feelings of embarrassment or concern and indulged her invitation, and “silly” became “joy-filled.”
2021 Intention: My definition of one of our seeds, “Well-Being”, comes from what I wrote on my holiday card this year: “What matters most is someone to love; kindness; laughter; health; a spirit of adventure; inclusion; simple beauty found in nature; gratitude; and enough discontent to take action for a better world.”
Supported Organization: BUILD: Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development/ Turnaround Tuesday
“Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development (BUILD) is a broad-based, non-partisan, interfaith, multiracial community power organization rooted in Baltimore’s neighborhoods and congregations. BUILD is dedicated to making Baltimore a better place for all Baltimoreans to live and thrive. For more than 40 years, BUILD has worked to improve housing, increase job opportunities, and rebuild schools and neighborhoods, among other issues.”
The secret to BUILD’s success lies in their commitment to identify and develop leaders in every community where they work. They rely on a radical tactic: We meet people face-to-face and build relationships that help to re-knit the frayed social fabric of our life. We don’t seek justice and social change for people, we seek change with people. We tackle big problems by breaking them down into issues that can be addressed. We build power by building community. Donate to BUILD
Favorite Holiday Tradition: My mom makes a famous Christmas Tree cinnamon roll that is absolutely legendary in my family. Not just for its taste but for the consistency and persistence. I’ll speak for myself that no matter where I’ve been over the past 30 years – that amazing Christmas Tree shows up at my door via overnight delivery. The gratitude I feel for the persistence that gets that tradition of love from one home to mine is something that makes the holiday season what it is, for me. And for which, I’m grateful.
Crazy Holiday Story: One holiday season just before Christmas, I took a bus from the east coast to Colorado for a skiing vacation. On the way, the bus broke down in a major snowstorm in sub-zero temperatures. It was quite late at night, and there were no lights visible in any direction. Within 30-minutes, the temperature inside the bus was the same as outside, but minus the wind. Unsuccessfully, the bus driver tried to contact the bus company and forbade anyone from calling 911. When people began to panic and insisted we get help, he began screaming at the passengers. The passengers then lashed out at the driver and from there the situation started to spiral, when… headlights and flashlights began to appear through the frozen windows. Somehow, the word had gotten out in the small local community, and that triggered a small convoy of trucks and cars that began transporting people to the home of a local person who offered their home as a temporary refuge. There was hot chocolate and Christmas cookies spread out for everyone. There was holiday music and signing of Christmas carols. A few hours later, a local school bus to transport us to a local Church, where beds and cots had been set up in the basement community room. Santa was there to give out presents. The next morning, a replacement bus from the bus company arrived, and we continued the final leg of the trip.
Supporting Organization: Martha’s Table
Martha’s Table has operated from the belief that every Washingtonian deserves the
opportunity to thrive. They support improving the strength of children, families, and
communities by increasing access to quality education, health and wellness, and family
resources. Between 1989-1998 I lived around the corner from Martha’s Table’s humble
beginnings at 14th Street NW location and I volunteered to support their after-school
They’d been operating for nearly a decade at that time and since then,
and it’s inspiring to watch their programs expand to support strong children, strong
families, and strong communities — now operating nationally accredited education
programs that begin at birth; fighting for food justice and increasing access to healthy
meals and fresh produce for over 15,000 residents; and promoting family
success through our no-cost community store and engagement programs. Donate to Martha’s Table
Holiday Traditions: The holidays are always important to me because everyone lives all over the country. It’s a time for us to gather and enjoy each other’s time together. We also play Holiday music and decorate the house.
Supporting Organization: Bread for the City
There are a lot of people living with food insecurity, especially with the pandemic. The mission of Bread for the City is to help Washington, DC residents living with low income to develop their power to determine the future of their own communities. We provide food, clothing, medical care, and legal and social services to reduce the burden of poverty. We seek justice through community organizing and public advocacy. We work to uproot racism, a major cause of poverty. We are committed to treating our clients with the dignity and respect that all people deserve. Donate to Bread for the City
Favorite Holiday Memory: Growing up in Germany, the holidays have always felt like a magical time to me with games, laughter, playfulness, gratitude and making time for each other. My fondest memories are of my mom, sister and I being in our PJs all day, watching classic Christmas movies, eating some German treats like Lebkuchen, and being warm, silly & cozy together.
There are so many valuable organizations who serve those in need, and in thinking about this year, and my fondest memory, I’m highlighting a local non-profit, Family Lifeline, a member of the United Way efforts, who focuses on serving the ecosystem of individuals and families, from kids to parents to seniors, through 3 Programs: Growing Well, Living Well, and Giving Well. Their new tagline especially resonates with me: Bringing Health and Hope into the Home.
Supporting Organization: Family Lifeline
Family Lifeline is one of the oldest non-profit organizations in Virginia and an integral member of the greater Richmond community. They have been supporting stronger lives and stronger communities since 1877.
Their tagline: Bringing Health and Hope into the Home.
Their mission & vision: We partner with families and individuals, delivering intensive home and community-based services to achieve an equitable, resilient community where families and individuals are connected, safe and living a healthy, meaningful life. Donate to Family Lifeline
From our team to you, we wish you a happy holiday season with best wishes for a healthy and prosperous new year!