For many of us, this time of year means travel to visit with family and friends, enjoying traditional holiday foods like turkey, cranberries, stuffing and mashed potatoes, reflecting on the people and things for which we are grateful, and cheering on our favorite football teams. It also means that we are at the end of another successful year and focused on bringing in a new year full of eagerness for our mission.
During this season of gratitude, I want to encourage each of us to remember our purpose and lessons learned that helped us grow. I want us to remember our neighbors and the communities in which we serve and spend some time uplifting the people in them. All of us have something we can share whether it’s words, kind gestures or actions to uplift. I want us to reminisce on the good and bad then remember how we made it better.
In fact, from the very beginning, we had a year filled with challenges from the start, but we got through each of them together and I am grateful. At the beginning of the year, over 800,000 federal workers were experiencing the longest furlough in history. It was a hard time. However, I first want to commend and thank the FEW Foundation for their generosity and support to seventeen of our FEW members with one hundred-dollar grants. Our partnership with the FEW Foundation demonstrates the charitable arm of FEW still stands strong. Second, I must thank the National Board of Directors of FEW for your donations and support throughout this year. You are the very best board and I want to thank you for your willingness to help alleviate homelessness with the support of the Chosen 300 Ministries in Philadelphia. With your help, the FEW board served over 300 people and provided much needed toiletries. Third, I also want to thank our national sponsor, Federal Employee and Education Assistance (FEEA) fund and the runners and walkers who participated in our very first team, Team FEW. We had walkers from across the country who participated in FEEA’s Public Service Recognition Week 5K race. Fourth, I must thank the National Training Program (NTP) volunteers, the FEW Regions and chapters, that attended our 50th National Training Program. There is a level of commitment to FEW that brings the very best to our organization and I am truly grateful for your actions that have provided encouragement, empowerment and elevation for so many people. Lastly, I want to thank our members and friends. I am honored to serve with so many inspirational people who want to ensure equity, diversity and the inclusion of women in conversations. FEW is definitely soaring because of all of you.
I encourage each of us, as we focus on the end of the year and all of the additional responsibilities that come along with the holiday season, to place a high priority on our own self-care, family and friends. Take breaks, connect with friends, breathe, plan ahead, continue healthy habits, reach out to someone, share a cup of coffee or even a simple smile, and express your appreciation to those who have helped you. It’s the small things that sometimes have the greatest impact.
A Happy Thanksgiving to each of you!