A Memorable Birthday

Tell me your most vivid birthday memory? I hope there’s a positive image that popped for you as you pondered the answer to that question.  I remember walking home with some friends after school and my mom inviting everyone in to have a slice of cake, which was in the form of an 8. I vividly remember how cool that cake looked and how good it felt to be surrounded by a loving community.

April 6, 2020 is the Center’s 48th birthday. Cue the music!

I have a feeling this is a birthday that will stand out in our memories. These are vivid times. In the last month we have made radical changes to our operations so that we can continue to live out our mission to walk with people on the path to hope and healing. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that the coronavirus has caused us to change as much in a few days as we did over some decades—all perforce so that we might continue to be present to those most in need.

Examples abound…

Who knew one month ago that our Women Helping Women committee would find a way to transition an event that’s been around for over two decades from a luncheon gathering of over 600 (not recommended these days!) to an online gathering that will provide the same kind of inspiration, community, and generous support for the Center? I am so inspired by the efforts of our development team, the planning committee, our speaker, honoree and generous donors. We still have a month to go before the May 15th event, but their capacity to change radically is truly inspiring. Thank you!

Who could have imagined one month ago that we would transition our administrative services to a remote office in order to keep our workforce and those we serve safe? It has been amazing to watch the commitment and innovation required from our staff as they have not only imagined new ways to operate and support our clinicians, but literally to radically alter the way we do things in a matter of hours rather than weeks or years. It’s been hard work, but the reward of the efforts is the stuff of which a live of purpose is made.

Who, among our clients, had a sense that when they made an appointment with their counselor, spiritual director, or teacher a few weeks ago, would have considered the possibility that the encounter would be happening on a screen, rather than “live?” My admiration for clients and therapists goes well beyond words. Our services are needed more than ever in this anxious time of mitigation and neologisms. None of us had really heard of “Covid-19” until very recently. Now the mere utterance can raise blood pressure.  Thank you for all the courage it took to make those appointments possible! May the connections bear good fruit.

I must admit that as we were working on grants and asking donors to support us as we had lots of needs related to technology and getting the infrastructure in place to do telehealth and manage electronic health records, that none of us had any idea how urgent those “asks” were. Mental health stakeholders in general and our staff, board and donors in particular, positioned us to face this crisis head on. It’s been a bumpy transition at times, but we are here and we are doing our best to help as many as we can regardless of the resources one might bring to the healing process. The generosity of all who support our work has saved lives.

This is a birthday we will likely never forget. I am grateful for all those who made the first 48 years of our mission possible. I am also grateful for those of us that are a part of this current moment in the Center’s history and for the varied contributions that have made our services possible when the needs are urgent. It still feels wonderful to be surrounded by loving community.

Feel free to bring a present to the party by offering an online gift:


With a prayer for you and yours,