I cannot believe I've had the honor to be a part of this family for six months already. It has also been six months of our VISIONS community coping with not one, but multiple pandemics. We've reflected together; we've laughed together; we've cried together; we've checked in around our needs; we've moved forward by continuing to do the work, no matter how exhausted or angry we've felt; we've completed a strategic planning process; we've added several new staff; we've lost old ones, and, and, and...
I am also sad (and angry) that for the past few months, there have been many names added to the long list of shootings of black bodies by those “sworn to protect” them, or those who take up arms in the name of hatred. It's a daily reminder of why VISIONS does the work it does. Indeed, VISIONS now more than ever...
Many of you supported the strategic planning process over the past year, and I want to thank you so much for the time you spent contributing to this important process. We will never be finished getting your input, so always feel free to check back in. It is our sincere hope that the strategic plan conveys the spirit of our VISIONS community, bridging our past to our future, while honoring our history. We are now in the implementation planning phase, where we are creating our next steps based on the strategic plan. We will reach out for your input, as relevant, in the coming weeks.
We are also hopeful that you've been able to attend our skillshare sessions on Tuesdays, that you've been able to locate tools you can use as our ambassadors, and that you've been able to access spaces in which you can share information and ideas with one another, like our listserv and community check-ins.
I want to thank Nikki Glass and Amber Babineau for their hard work and support around navigating EIDL and CARES. It helped us feel somewhat secure in some very uncertain times. Their hard work has allowed us to be innovative this fiscal year in moving VISIONS forward.
This time has also brought some gifts, such as pro bono media relations support from SSPR, with spreading the work of our mission, as well as bringing on our new social media marketing group, AlterEgo, to help VISIONS get the word out that we are here to help others “do the work”.
We are now partnering with Mediators Beyond Borders International (MBBI) in hopes that we have a larger global impact on conflict resolution and peacebuilding by supporting their already-wonderful work with more learning of our DEI framework/model. We hope that all our efforts will only positively impact this current context we live in, and help us sustain the incredible work VISIONS has done for the past 35 years.
Thank you all for your efforts and passion in doing this hard work. I need to also take this time to share my gratitude for the hard work of the team who supports our work at VISIONS, sometimes behind the scenes, through all the changes of these past six months, and most often with smiles on their faces: Val, Rick, Lisa, Emma, Kaitlin, Beca, Amber, Erika, and Nikki. And we welcome our new staff: Sue and Teletha.
I hope you find some restorative time so that you can continue doing this critical work...
Here's to the next six months, six years, six decades,
Keep on, keepin' on.