During the experience, I was reminded of words from the late great author bell hooks who wrote: “[O]ne of the most vital ways we sustain ourselves is by building communities of resistance, places where we know we are not alone.”
I do this work because I am on a mission to bring the passionate people of the world together to build a positive future for our kids. I have always loved convention as a chance to connect with others and now, after two years of deep learning, I have a new appreciation for what being together in community means.
Again, bell hooks eloquently captured this with, “White dominant culture has tried to keep us all afraid, to make us choose safety instead of risk, sameness instead of diversity. Moving through that fear, finding out what connects us, reveling in our differences; this is the process that brings us closer, that gives us a world of shared values, of meaningful community.”
At NAA, we have deep respect and appreciation for you and others in the afterschool profession who do this important work–often in silos and without the recognition you deserve. But going forward, please know you are not alone. Whether you realized it before or not, we are all connected in community through our whys, our stories, and the work that we do.
Going forward you will hear more from NAA and the afterschool community about our shared why, as we unveil our plans for creating a thriving workforce and issue a call to action in support of the profession.
Contributed by Heidi Ham, Chief Operating Officer, National AfterSchool Association