This year, all of us at the National Center for Children and Families (NCCF) celebrate its century-old mission to strengthen the great connectedness of our community – connections which emerge from the heart and comfort our very being.
As a society, we often emphasize romantic love because it is exciting, passionate, and natural; it aspires to forge a forever relationship, a family, a life-long friend; yet NCCF believes in a love equally powerful and direct. We believe in love that connects all human beings. This love touches our inner-most spirit. It lasts because it has been passed on from our elders through each generation. This kind of love heals, hopes, and produces immeasurable good that initially may have been unimaginable for so many.
I’ve learned over the years, that while our minds often do not readily forgive, our hearts can let go of any offense, betrayal or injury. The most painful aspect of the COVID pandemic is how in recent months, we became isolated, divided, or even fearful of embracing family or community. NCCF bears witness every day that despite the dramatic challenges; physical, emotional, social, racial, or economic, our hearts are not broken. After all, if nothing else, we have learned we must love ourselves more. We truly can assert that we are each and every one worthy, and ultimately, we each deserve to be nurtured and valued. Imagine that!
How may we know this? A surprise and welcomed phone call; a picture with a heartfelt memory recaptured; unknown stories told with joy; sharing of values and rituals, even if by Zoom; waiting in the parking lot of an emergency room to be near a loved one who needs help. An unexpected discovery of common experiences and mutuality. We need to reclaim the essence of who we truly are. This is comforting, and this connects our humanity.
As the holiday season begins, we urge you to reclaim a positive attitude; believe in something bigger than yourself; embrace diversity as valuable; and demonstrate the need to care about someone who has less. Our recent 2021 gala, RECLAIMING: The HeART of Community (www.heartofcommunity.org), did just that. We were able to receive the exceptional, artistic gifts of young people who shared their genius with open hearts, to help other youth who are homeless or abandoned. The personal generosity of our humanitarian awardees was on display as they were honored for their positive, influential impact on the quality of life in this regional community.
Our gala’s 15-year-old hostess, Drew Olivia Tillman, said it best, “in my heart… I feel so special, so alive, and so connected.” As caring adults, this heartfelt sentiment is the gift we want to give to all children. We want them to know how special they are, because then they will know how unimaginably good life can be. NCCF exists to create opportunities for those we serve to reclaim who they really are and to connect even more to themselves; their strengths and their dreams. NCCF is reclaiming humility, love, and peace within our collective heart and in our external world. We urgently ask you to help us continue this work, and let our children, youth, and families know that YOU believe they can overcome poverty, domestic violence, and abuse and neglect, to gain a better future. Let them know you believe they are deserving of your comforting support.
This is a season for giving thanks and remembering what matters. NCCF sincerely thanks you for all of your past assistance. Your contribution today will be another measurable act of reclaiming and will offer such a wonderful connection – one straight from the heart.