Reflecting, giving, uniting

The end of the year is the perfect time to reflect on the work that we do. Every day that we show up at our jobs, we make a choice. By showing up, we put our passion for improving the lives of individuals with disabilities into action.

The complicated and often hectic field we work in, especially during the busy holiday season, can sometimes cause us to lose sight of the dramatic impact we have on the people we support.

I’ll share a recent example from my organization. At MSS, we participate in an Advent Giving Tree effort with St. Thomas More Church in St. Paul. About 60 participants in our program, many who don’t have the opportunity to celebrate the holidays with family or friends, have their gift requests written on tags and placed on a tree in the church.

Church families chose a tag and purchase the requested gift for each person. Any tags that remain unclaimed are gathered up by our employees, who then purchase the remaining gifts themselves, making sure that everyone receives something for the holidays. Our staff wrap these gifts and prepare a big celebration for everyone to share in the festive season.

To me, this is a reminder of how connected we are to the community and how mission-driven our staff members are- that they do such crucial work for much more than just a paycheck.

I’m guessing this sounds familiar to many of you, and you have your own unique examples of people going above and beyond. I encourage you to share them with me, so we can share in your celebration.

I am proud to work in a state with such a diverse and dedicated group of providers. I want to express my gratitude for the high-quality services they provide, as well as their strong advocacy efforts and those of others who support our work.  

As we enter a new year with a divided state legislature, there is a lot of unfinished business that must get done to ensure financially sustainable services. We won’t always agree on how to go about that work. 

My hope is that we band together on areas in which we have consensus and engage in meaningful conversations in areas where we don’t. Let’s approach those conversations with open minds and good will.  We need the strength that comes from being united in order to achieve what we are ultimately all here to do: improve the lives of Minnesotans with disabilities.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday season,

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Minnesota Organization for Habilitation and Rehabilitation - MOHR