As we watched, we could not help but feel discouraged by the ongoing divided state of our nation. After a restless night's sleep and days of counting, the heavy feeling remains. Yet we know that as individuals and as an organization, we must continue our work, realizing this divisiveness makes the mission and vision of NAA—to use our purpose, position, and partnerships to build equity and connections through essential strategic areas that will strengthen the members of the afterschool workforce and to create a strong, valued profession—even more important.
How do we support the people of the afterschool profession to carry on with their impactful work? How do we continue to connect afterschool professionals and leaders, so they have the support system this tough work necessitates? How do we advocate for the afterschool profession and its professionals, so they are supported, not only by each other, but by public and organizational policies that ensure wages and benefits worthy of such valuable members of our communities?
These important questions drive the Association's work and are what make us unique and necessary during times of uncertainty and beyond.
Afterschool professionals and leaders across the nation witnessed possibly the most historic election of our lifetimes. They prepared to face masked young people and colleagues while tackling the daily challenges of this work. They are likely still exhausted and full of angst. As they embark on the days ahead, we encouraged our community to take some time to practice compassionate self-care, to center themselves, to refill their depleted energy stores, and to connect with other members of the afterschool community.
We encouraged our members to please remember this message: You are valued. Your work is valued. And regardless of election results, you are part of a community making a lasting impact on this world.
Our community is strong and now is a time to connect with and support one another.
Gina Warner, President & CEO, NAA, and Heidi Ham, Vice President of Programs & Strategy, NAA.
Courtesy of NAA.