It is hard to believe that after nearly 6 years, my time with AALEAD has drawn to a close as my husband and I are moving to North Carolina for his work. There are no words to capture what an impactful experience it has been and how grateful I am to have been a part of the AALEAD family. I will not say goodbye, because saying goodbye to family is just not something you do, but I will say “thank you”:
To my colleagues, I want to say thank you for inspiring me continually with your creativity, with your energy, with your humor, and with your love, not only for the youth we serve, but also for me and for each other. You have borne me up on days when burdens seemed too heavy and made me laugh uproariously when I most needed it. You set the tone for AALEAD and are collectively why no one seems to be able to find a better word to describe AALEAD than “family”.
To the youth, I say thank you for sharing your lives with me – for letting me laugh, cry, struggle through homework problems, be ridiculous, and celebrate with you. Thank you for laughing when my jokes were not that funny, humoring my lesson plans, and opening yourself up to me. Thank your for letting me “watch you grow up”.
To the families of our youth, thank you for sharing your youth with me and with AALEAD. They are truly precious people and I am so grateful that I get to have had some part in their lives.
It is a sad thing to leave and to not see AALEAD staff and youth on a daily basis. At the same time, I am truly excited for AALEAD’s future. AALEAD staff are such talented, dedicated, committed people who TRULY love the youth they serve and work tirelessly to support and see them grow. I believe AALEAD is poised for some great things in the next few years and I am looking forward to supporting AALEAD in whatever way I can in this new chapter of my life.