If my 40-year role as a steward of a community based mental health organization has taught me anything, it has taught me to appreciate the strength and resiliency of the human spirit. For me, this appreciation has served as a consistent motivator throughout the fluctuating uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, racial injustice and political uncertainty. I appreciate the commitment, flexibility and resiliency of our Kids In Crisis staff, our community partners, our many loyal and generous volunteers and donors, and most importantly – the children. Together, we have learned to pivot gracefully in response to concerning health data, state and federal mandates, and a brand new landscape of work, education and family life. I’m proud of how we’ve all adapted and I’m inspired by the optimism we see in our children.
The necessary isolation experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic is particularly hard for at-risk children. Issues of domestic violence, substance abuse, food-uncertainty, household under-employment, homelessness and mental health strain are all amplified when children have no outlet and are seen less-frequently by mandated reporters such as teachers, day care providers and medical professionals. SafeHaven has hosted many of these children since the onset of the pandemic and we’re thankful that our doors have stayed open and our services available 24-7, since day one.
The Kids In Crisis TeenTalk program has gone completely remote and virtual, then pivoted back to having counselors in thirteen area middle and high schools and the Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich. We’re ready to adapt again on a moment’s notice, as area school systems respond to fluctuating public health data. Lighthouse, our LGTBQ program has held social-distanced meetings all spring, summer and fall in a Stamford park and the teens have enjoyed their time together outdoors while maintaining a safe, social distance. With gratitude to the Avon Theater in downtown Stamford, Lighthouse can now go indoors as the Avon has graciously opened their doors as a meeting space for our group. Our team is also hard at work developing creative tactics to deliver SafeTalk and Emotion Locomotion to elementary school students through a fun and engaging virtual platform this fall.
The framework for all of our outreach efforts are thoughtfully outlined in our new Strategic Plan, which was voted on and approved by our Board of Directors in September. A Strategic Planning Committee comprised of members of our Board of Directors, Honorary Board and Kids In Crisis staff, and assisted by a non-profit consulting firm, The Strategic Group, LLC. worked together over a period of eight months to develop the agency plan.
We look forward to sharing this exciting new plan with all of you in the coming days, and together strive to meet the goals that will guide the organization for the next four years.
Heading into the holiday season, I can look at our organization and know we will continue to grow and pivot, with grace and determination, to bring strength and stability to the families who need us. Thank you for joining us in this dance.
Wishing you all continued good health,