In seedtime learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy. (William Blake)
It is striking to me that the new year, the time to begin again, occurs midwinter when nights are longest and feast days have just passed. In this season, the daylight hours are a promise of what is to come as they are only beginning to lengthen again toward the balance of equinox. It is in this quiet space that we consider both the past year and the year to come.
In seedtime learn
Each year has its seasons of learning, its seedtime. This year we brought Alya, our Armenian Country Director, to the United States. We wanted to see the daily routine and management of various group homes in order to strengthen our own ability to manage difficult behaviors and residents with complicated diagnoses.
While I missed going to Armenia this year (we couldn’t manage both) and seeing our dear residents, it seemed fitting to allow her the extraordinary chance to see other group homes. Because ours was the first - and only - long-term group home in Armenia, she had never had the opportunity to see another. Our time together here was rich and sparked a renewed commitment to bring Anna and Sassoon home from the clinics in the spring. (Read more on page 3 of the attached Annual Report.)
While observing different group homes, we felt validated in that the most important components of a loving group home are in place at Warm Hearth. We were exposed to new ways of caring for individuals with particular behavioral challenges. We were reminded that the struggles we face are by nature part of this work and are not endured by us alone.
In harvest teach
In 2011, we enjoyed the gifts of each particular season and helped our residents do the same. As in any endeavor, and in any human life, there were unexpected losses and surprising bounties along the way. We - resident, staff, donor, volunteer - experienced both, as did each of you, I imagine.
Many of our residents began their third and final year of study at Yerevan State Humanities College. They have thrived in this setting and we look forward to their graduation day in 2012. We continue to think of ways in which we can achieve movement toward further integration into the community after graduation - whether in work, service, art or play. We look forward to how this will enrich and strengthen our residents’ lives.
In winter enjoy
I spoke with our residents an hour ago. It is the eve of the Armenian New Year and they are staying up late, reveling in the celebration with its tasks and merriments, talking about their gifts, enjoying one another. It bring me so much joy to hear their voices full of anticipation, full of hope.
As Blake urges, winter is a time to enjoy the work of the year, the bounty of the harvest. They are doing just that. In this spirit, I want this report to do the same. We have so much to be grateful for, in large part because of each of you. So in these pages, I want to share with you our seeds, our harvest, and our winter that you might also learn, teach and enjoy.
Blessings to you and yours,