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A Word from Gerry

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

 Martin Luther King Jr.

Over the past few weeks and months our community has been forced to deal with multiple difficult challenges – the COVID-19 pandemic, the resulting economic fallout, brutal scenes of racial oppression, and the following civil unrest. As an organization committed to the core values of respect, empowerment, and compassion, whose mission is to advance lives of connection, contribution, and meaning for persons with developmental disabilities and the individuals that support them, we must strive to be there for all people, whatever the source of their pain and loss.

Regarding the coronavirus, this unprecedented health crisis has led to demonstrations of such incredible selfless acts of dedication and service that often my heart is overflowing with gratitude. The fact that as of yet we have not had one positive case of the virus at any of our homes is certainly directly linked to those staff that volunteered to move into and work at the sites for weeks on end, and to the steadfast effort that we’ve made towards everyone adhering to the social distancing guidelines. I publicly want to express my deep appreciation for the direct care staff and our management team that has truly stepped up to the task over these past few months.

We also witnessed amazing support through the generous donations that many of you made to our COVID-19 Response Fund! Due to the shelter in place directives, we were unable to hold our annual Walk ‘n Roll and were disheartened by the lost revenue this would cause. Well, with the $42,000 in donations made to the Response Fund added to the $25,000 sponsored match, we have surpassed the $67,000 mark which is just unbelievable! Thank you so much.

The high incidence of the virus among African Americans and the unpardonable death of George Floyd and many other persons of color, has brought a laser focus to the deep and ever present biases in our culture. For over 60 years it has been Garden Center Services’ aspiration to protect and advocate for those members of our society that are marginalized and discriminated against. We must be committed to this not just for persons with developmental disabilities, but all persons. The diversity of our staff and the individuals we serve is one of the greatest strengths of our agency. Each of us must do whatever we can going forward to concretely demonstrate acceptance, empathy, and understanding.

Please, now more than ever, let us be kind to one another.

Peace,

Gerry

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