By Dori Tyau
As we approach mid-July and clearly we are half way through the calendar year, we are also closing out fiscal year 2014 for Hale Kipa. In many ways for me, I start to have the same kinds of feelings I have towards the end of December…which cause me to stop and reflect on the last 12 months of the year. As I take a look around the Business Office and see the empty cubicles, even if I know part of that is because Brian, although still very much a part of Hale Kipa, is working virtually for us from Japan and recently Catie & Karen moved to Damon, as appropriate for the Summer Series, it is still sometimes hard to think about where we were a little over a year ago, and where we are today. When I look back and think about it all, there are three words that come to mind about what I have experienced this last year: change, attitude and perseverance.
I realize that it is just a normal part of life for people and organizations to go through change; and as I referenced in one of my previous articles about “one door closing and one door opening,” we sure have had our share of doors closing, or at least appearing to close. With Tracy Janowicz leaving us at the beginning of the year and not having replaced Maria Gozzip’s position, there is an emptiness that is more than just about physical presence; and although I won’t speak for anyone else in the Business Office, I know personally, that has been really hard for me. There is a void that will never really be filled, even when those positions are.
However, in spite of all the changes and losses, there is a definite core in the Business Office, of folks who have embraced an attitude of moving forward and doing whatever it takes. It certainly hasn’t been an easy year for us, and I cannot even begin to describe how much the overall positive nature of peoples’ attitude, something so intangible, yet paramount to our ability to continue on, has meant. It would have been so easy, at any given point, for folks to say, “that’s not my job” or simply to just retreat to their own space and not be a part of the team’s effort to keep the organization going. Yet, my experience has been to the contrary. Cliché as it may be, there is no “I” in team and I have always, thankfully, experienced the attitude of “we” not “me.” It has been amazing to watch, really, the collective willingness of everyone to work together and help each other. Although there was always a sense of camaraderie, I do believe the challenges we faced together have solidified the cohesiveness and relationships amongst those who have and continue to weather the storm.
Perseverance is the last word that resonates for me because in my opinion, anyone can get through moments or short periods of challenges. The “test” if you will, is when the “temporary” nature of some event goes way longer than anticipated, yet folks continue to maintain the same positive attitude and spirit of willingness to do whatever it takes. It’s the long haul and staying engaged in the process that has shown me the true character of people…and that it’s about caring for each other and the organization that fuels the fire to go on.
Trust that I am not naïve to the fact that the changes Hale Kipa has experienced have touched more than just the Business Office, and I am appreciative of those in program who have also stepped up and contributed to taking care of the needs of the organization. I am aware that in many ways, those of you in program also experience all kinds of challenges, especially when there are vacant positions; and I have seen folks do whatever it takes to keep the services going, putting the needs of the youth and families first. I have such admiration and respect for those of you who have gone through many changes, maintained that positive attitude and persevered through some very difficult times. What awesome role models you are for the youth you serve.
As usual, I want to be sure to make a point…so here it is. I am reminded every day when I come to work, of how thankful I am to be around people who truly care. The work we have had to do has not been easy and the tasks that I and many others have taken on, have pushed us to learn things some of us never dreamed we would need to learn. Yet, in spite of the difficulties, it’s the people and our mission that have kept me going; and honestly, I’m not sure I would have made it this far, if things were different in the office and throughout the organization. We have really good people at Hale Kipa, and when I say, “good” I don’t only mean good at their jobs, but at the core…solid human beings.