Reflecting on Gratitude in 2020 as a Healthy Practice for Community Alliance
According to the National Institutes of Health, practicing gratitude can have a positive impact on our wellbeing – something we could all use right now. And, if you make it an everyday habit, this daily dose of positive emotion helps people cope with stress and can even enhance physical health. That’s a strategy Carole Boye, Community Alliance CEO, and Aileen Brady, Community Alliance COO have taken in reflecting on a challenging year.
Stepping Up to the Crisis
Brady recently asked the staff to think about the positive things that have come about because of the pandemic, not in spite of it. “Our staff had to make a 180-degree shift to adjust their work,” Brady noted. “We stepped up telehealth access across all our services in a matter of weeks. Staff adapted to working from home – doing telephone contact, telehealth and face-to-face contact to support our clients. And they worked hard to educate clients even while we were all still learning about the coronavirus ourselves. People were afraid and there were so many unknowns., Yet, individually and collectively, staff worked tirelessly to support the people we serve and help keep them safe and well.”
Willingness to Adapt to Change
“We are grateful for the resilience of our clients as well as our staff. We’re thankful for those who have continued to think creatively– helping people deal with the isolation, social distancing, fear and trauma being experienced as a result of this crisis”, Boye added. “And we’re thankful for our clients who have learned new ways to navigate through all of this and remained committed to their own recovery There are days that their strength supports us. Many remain truly upbeat and have expressed their gratitude for anything we’ve been able to do, even when it involved change and doing things differently.”
An Entire Community of Support
“We are also truly thankful for our community and how quickly and collaboratively it stepped up to serve the most vulnerable,” Boye said. “There’s a private sector fund that has distributed tens of thousands of dollars through agencies that serve the homeless, including Community Alliance, to help prevent evictions. This is in addition to government aid that was available. Donations to area food banks and other organizations focused on helping to meet basic needs have been incredibly helpful. While initially, and even long term, I think there was some fear that nonprofits would be unable to maintain service levels, the individual, corporate and foundation support has been there to help us keep our services going. Bottom line, we are not only thankful, but extremely proud of our community and how it has risen and responded to this unprecedented social, economic and human challenge.”
“We’re grateful to our board of directors and all the direction and support they’ve provided. They’ve stayed engaged and mission-focused throughout and allowed us the operating flexibility needed to assist our clients and stay proactive in trying to keep everyone safe,” Boye continued.
“And we have never relied as much as we have these past months on our professional organizations and colleagues, both statewide and nationwide. Whether it was the PPP program or other aspects of the CARES Act, helping us access PPE when we couldn’t find it anywhere, or sending information and advocating for us in regard to something we needed. The benefit and worth of joint teamwork and advocacy has been proven over and over again during this timeframe.”
Brady added, “I have been on the phone with the local and, at times, state Health Department a lot this past year and they have done so much to help us through the range of specific concerns and scenarios we were facing both on a staff and client level. They have been patient, attentive and helpful when we needed specialized PPE. They made sure we got what we needed within a day or two.” Our health leaders and healthcare providers everywhere deserve everyone’s thanks.
Together We Make a Positive Impact
“And we would be remiss if we didn’t thank our personal support systems – all of our families and friends,” said Boye. “They are essential in helping us care for ourselves, so we can care for others.”
“2020 has required more nimbleness and willingness to adapt than in any other time period that many of us have seen in our careers,” Boye added. “It’s been extremely challenging, but there is good that has come from it. It all goes back to the theme of working together. So many have stepped up. Together the behavioral health community, the nonprofit community and the philanthropic community have worked together and with government to help us all get through this.”
“Our theme throughout has been that we’re in this together. And if we hadn’t made an effort to work together and support each other, it certainly would have made things so much harder,” Brady observed. “Even through difficult situations and frustrating moments, we all knew the way to get through it was by working together. We all had roles to play in order to make it through successfully and continue to meet the needs of those who need us.”
“I am grateful for being here at Community Alliance. They are helping with my recovery and I love the people here and am grateful for them. I am grateful for being alive. I am grateful for having good health. I am grateful that I still have a house and can pay bills. I am grateful that the staff at Community Alliance talk with me and ask me how I feel.” – Rickey
“I am grateful for my health. I am grateful to have good friends. I am grateful to come here, it helps with my recovery. I am grateful that the world is still turning. I am grateful to be alive.” – Margo
“I am grateful to get up every morning. I am grateful for my children and my grandbabies. I am grateful for friends. I am grateful for Community Alliance. I am grateful for life.” – Nita
“I am grateful for family and friends. I am grateful to be alive. I am grateful for having talents. I am grateful for Community Alliance. I am grateful for a place to live. I am grateful for food, clothing and shelter. I am grateful for pets.” – Crimson
Help is Within Reach
We offer a full range of integrated health services including primary and psychiatric care, mental health and substance use counseling, rehabilitation and employment services, supportive housing, community, family and peer supports and more.