Professional Development

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We All Need Space

Tuesday, 12 May 2020 09:06

Even before social distancing, we've always needed space. Space to share, learn, connect, and be inspired. That's what the NAA community provides for each other and for those in our networks.

As part of the NAA20 Reimagined Virtual Convention's Celebration of Afterschool on April 29, 2020, NAA Leaders Gina Warner and Heidi Ham shared messages of recognition and inspiration with afterschool professionals and leaders. Now, we want to share the message with you.

We always say, "NAA is more than a convention, it's a community." This is possible because of our exceptional membership of afterschool professionals and leaders. It's been a little over a year since many from our community were together in New York City for NAA 2019 Annual Convention and so much has happened since then. Even with new challenges posed to you every day, you have accomplished so much. Though we didn't get to meet in person in 2020, the Convention theme SHOW UP, SPEAK UP rings true—you show up and speak up for afterschool, today and every single day!

At NAA, we SHOW UP, advocating for our profession and the field needs as professionals. We SPEAK UP, with love and strength for our kids and our communities. We SHOW UP and SPEAK UP for you!

Let's take some time today to recognize all the hard and important work YOU do, as you continue to display courage, resilience, and grace in the face of new challenges.

As the leaders of NAA, we are honored to serve with you all. Many of you know that Gina worked in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina devastated the city. She has shared amazing stories about the resiliency of the afterschool community in the aftermath. It takes hard work, bravery and fighting for what's right when everything is uncertain. Together, as a community, we have this fight and we will speak up for our profession and for our kids and families, and we will take care of each other.

Since this is about you, how are you? How is the state of your heart today?

You may be sad, you may be tired, you may be heartbroken, you may have learned something new, you may be experiencing new connections, you may even be feeling some success. You may be feeling all of these things within a 24-hour time period. Or maybe you're numb and feeling nothing. All of this is understandable and OK.

We all have unique experiences because of who we are and we all need space to "be" in our own ways. Feel free to reply to this email if you want to share how you are being or feeling and need support, or would like to offer some—that's one of the benefits of being part of a professional membership association: We've all got you!

If you prefer to just watch an inspiring video:

Thank you for doing this valuable work and for showing up for afterschool. We love you. We appreciate you. You are the heart of afterschool!

Courtesy of NAA.

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