What a year it’s been for Heartfelt Tidbits. We experienced a great deal of antagonism towards our agency and the clients that we support along with an outpouring of love. To say it was an easy year would be lying. As the executive director, it was one of the toughest we’ve experienced and yet the most fulfilling.
As I was putting the video together from the countless pictures we’ve taken, I felt blessed. Blessed to have so many wonderful friends, cherished moments and laughter. I’ve gained my strength from those in this video. They provide the purpose, reason and strength I need to get through those tough times. I realize and don’t take for granted that what I see as a tough journey isn’t anything compared to the steps they’ve taken to arriving in the USA and commitment they’ve made to start over in a world unknown. Without our partners, board and volunteers we wouldn’t exist. They’re the encouragement I need to keep pushing further beyond my reach while knowing they’re walking alongside of me each step of the way.
- We became an independent 501c3. Prior to this we always sat under another non-profit.
- The number of refugees from Bhutan grew to over 15,000. That’s 5,000 more than last year.
- We physically touch on average 150 clients per week. That’s 100% more than last year.
- We started seeing families arriving from Jordan, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Russia, Afghanistan and Africa.
- Despite a painful move of two of our programs at the beginning of the year, we landed in fantastic places, Northminster Presbyterian Church and Reading Lockland Presbyterian Church.
- We fell deeper in love with our clients, the countless volunteers and partners that support Heartfelt Tidbits each and every day!
- New relationships, friendships and love were formed with new partners Tikkun Farms, Wave Pool Art Gallery, Syrian American Foundation, Rockdale Temple, Northminster, Knox and Reading Lockland Presbyterian Churches, The Gathering at Northern Hills, Our Harvest, Finneytown Community Volunteers, Community Matters, Education Matters, Roberts Elementary and so many others. It may sound sappy but JOY is the best way to describe the magic.
- Students continued to flourish in education, music, citizenship and employment.
It has been a year of speaking out ….
- Against the hatred that surrounded the election, before and after
- Asking for protection, welcome and love to be shared with our newest residents
- To encourage city officials to really examine, highlight and recognize the value that immigrants and refugees are bringing to Cincinnati
- Showcasing that love CAN and DOES exist amongst those of different faiths
- To ask others to listen before judging
- For human rights and world peace
In 2016 we recognized our need to support our newest neighbors was needed more than ever.
- Many of our students became new citizens and voted in the Presidential election.
- Immigrants were granted asylum status with work visas.
- English classes grew to potluck dinners and family celebrations.
- New friendships were formed.
- Marriages happened and babies were born.
- There were countless high school and college graduations.
- Art flourished. In collaboration with Christian Davies and the Wave Pool Art Gallery we worked with local immigrants and refugees on inspiration for a mural that will be painted on the side of the Wave Pool Art Gallery.
- Laughter and love was abundant.
- We welcomed four new board members: Shiva Chamlagai, Mel Cohen, Doug Geisz and Carol Gates.
- Northminster Presbyterian Church partnered with us to hold a fantastic Thanksgiving dinner, American style, for our newest neighbors.
- Holiday cookie making and parties galore.
- Choir camps and music programs for all.
- Good citizen awards for four of our outstanding students.
Where we are headed in 2017..
- Staying true to our values of respecting and welcoming all that we meet
- Advocating for our clients
- Continuing to build on our strong relationships with our partners and clients
- The creation of a social enterprise
- Expanding and continuing our educational programs
- Introducing our youth and young adults with other local groups
- College planning
- Health and wellness
- Celebrating the JOY’s of 2017
I would like to say thank you to all of the partners, donors, volunteers, our Board and clients for your ongoing support, continuing to share love and laughter each and every day!
Wishing you nothing but the BEST, LOVE and JOY in 2017!