As I was pondering what was of the utmost importance to share in this post, I kept thinking, “What is Family Advocates thankful for?”

I looked at the photos being shared by staff via our social media stories titled, “I am grateful for…” and saw lots of family photos, some beautiful nature and landscapes, but mostly family. You’d think that we’d all be a little over being around family after nearly 8 months of working from home. You’d think that we’d be longing for taking some adventures via vacations, short day trips, eating at a restaurant, or going to a movie. Nope – we are grateful for family.

We have a tradition for starting and closing our twice-monthly staff meetings. We open with a fun question (sharing only if comfortable, of course) such as, “What was a win you had last month?” and close with something like, “What brings you peace?” Without fail, answers are shared that include stories of family successes. A win last month may have been helping a child do math! And what brings them peace might be seeing grandchildren in person versus on Zoom. Yes, we are grateful for family.

October was our big annual fundraising event: Welcome Home. Much different from last year’s luncheon, we met via a live link on YouTube. As the donations rolled in, you could hear our Board President identify her own family members whose names were being called out as they appeared on the screen. She was excited to see the thermometer climbing towards the goal, and she was excited that her family was not only supporting Family Advocates, but supporting her in her role and in her passion, too. We are grateful for family.

Our programs have worked overtime to revamp their day-to-day operations in order to reach those in most need of Family Advocates’ services. Family Strengthening is meeting families virtually and developing partnerships with other organizations who have families in need. CASA has moved volunteer training online to ensure there is no gap in service for children in need of a Guardian ad litem. Guardians continue to meet with children and work on their cases while practicing social distancing. Creativity abounds as everyone works to find ways to help strengthen families. Oh, how grateful we are for family!

Our passion is families. Our hope is keeping families together. Our dream is that one day, families in this community won’t need our services anymore. So, during this time of year, it is no wonder that we celebrate what we are thankful for: Families.