What a challenging time these past few months have been. As my father has said to my children during this time, we are living through important history. I have been experiencing a range of emotions during these recent months, as I’m sure you all have. Our hearts are heavy with the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, the experience of Christian Cooper – and countless other horrific examples of the racial injustice all too common in our society. We as a society can be – we have to be – better than this. While I am concerned about the safety of our communities, I am hopeful that through peaceful protest and real dialogue we can make positive progress and heal by coming together.
I am deeply concerned about the Coronavirus pandemic and the unprecedented impact it has had on our lives and our work. We know that children, youth, and families are struggling, and that the effects of all that is happening now will resonate for the communities we serve for a long time. We need to be there, Gemma strong, to support their needs. In our recent newsletter, you will read examples of our mission in action during this challenging time. But first, I want to touch on the commitment we are making at Gemma to become the change we seek. In our newsletter, you will find Gemma’s updated mission, vision, and values that guide our work every day. I have expressed to our staff and share with you now, our deepest commitment as an organization to listen, to learn, and to live into our value of “diversity, inclusion, and a community where everyone belongs.” I look forward to updating you about this deeply important work in the near future.
I am immensely proud of our dedicated and skilled team at Gemma who have not missed a beat in rising to the challenge of serving kids and families during these tough times. As you know, during the pandemic, some of our programs have shifted to providing services virtually while some services must continue in-person and are orchestrated very carefully given concerns about the virus.
Many friends have written to us with kind messages and with offers of support. Thank you. We are grateful to our caring partners who continue to sustain our mission. We could not do this important work without you. Together, Gemma Services will come through this time of change and struggle stronger than ever.
In gratitude and with continued well wishes,
Kristen E.M. Gay, Ph.D.