Grateful for what we have, mutual support, relationships, those we serve

By Julie Johnson

The end of the year always provides me with a welcome opportunity for reflection and pause. As I consider what we have all, organizationally and personally, experienced in the last two years, I am struck with a sense of gratitude for the support MOHR members provide to each other.

We know that other states and certainly other places outside of the U.S. do not have anything resembling the colleague network of MOHR. I simply cannot imagine navigating a pandemic and a historic workforce shortage without having a network of peers to share information with, discuss strategies on how to adapt and pivot with, and rely on.

Whether it was posing or answering a question on our Google Group, sharing policies and information, tracking down the details of new guidance from multiple government agencies, or sharing expertise at a MOHR committee meeting each of these actions helped us all feel a bit less alone in these trying times. I am even more grateful for our collaborative approach now than ever before.

None of us know what 2022 will bring. While I continue to hope for the best, we could continue to face very challenging times. What I do know is that MOHR members will not be going through this alone. We will work through our challenges and celebrate our success the same way - together. Thanks to all MOHR members for being a part of this network of much needed mutual support.

I also want to express my thanks for your work connecting with legislators on the state and federal level and building strong relationships. With the current dire need to address wages and benefits, the recently announced very significant budget surplus, and the already emerging disagreements amongst legislative leaders about priority uses for those surplus funds, we have important work in front of us to continue to grow and leverage those relationships with policymakers.  It is so important that lawmakers have a good understanding of the work we do so they can support us when we need them.

MOHR members continue to do impactful and important work every day to expand the worlds of the people we are honored to serve and help them lead the lives they choose. Once again, thank you.

Happy holidays and happy New Year.

Julie Johnson is president of the Minnesota Organization for Habilitation and Rehabilitation (MOHR).