2020. What a year. I choose to believe in post-traumatic growth, and we have had ample opportunities this year to shoot up more than the bean stock in the famous children’s fable!
So many positive things stand out over the course of the last 9 months. I think first of the resilience of the kids and families we serve. Critical incidents in all programs are down significantly. Go figure- you’d think the opposite would be true. The students in all of the programs have adapted incredibly well to the new normal- school on line, the banquet being cancelled and creatively re-created, valued traditions like summer camp not held, visits home disrupted- the list goes on and on. And yet, stakeholders retained their trust in us doing what we needed to do in order to keep kids safe while focusing on helping them acquire the skills and experiences they need to be successful at home, in their schools and communities. There has remained through it all a palpable and powerful sense of a “we will get through this together” spirit that has enabled us to conduct our business and routines as normal and continue our important work. Incredible, really, and awesome to be a part of.
Of course, the tone and tenor is created by the staff who work at Northwood, and they have done a fantastic job adapting and re-shaping traditions to keep the spirit alive in a new context reflecting the realities of the pandemic. The awards banquet held outdoors at each campus, innovative use of space to maintain valued traditions like Thanksgiving dinner and the Christmas banquet, creating a fun and playful place for kids to be quarantined when required to do so, scrambling to get up to speed on the provision of tele-health services- we have, in our midst, a group of veritable experts in the making of lemonade from lemons!
I have always been proud to be a part of the mission of Northwood, but never more so than this past year. As I often say, an ongoing crisis like this strips things down to elemental levels and reveals the real values of an organization. In this case, it reinforces the fact that Northwood is composed of an incredible group of highly committed men and women who will do everything they can to make sure, whatever the challenges, to keep the number one objective in mind- the quality care and treatment of the kids we are entrusted to serve.
President & CEO