Every year, as a new year is upon us, I feel hope and excitement for all the possibilities the new year has in store. As we approach 2022 and look back on the last year (or two) it is hard to not be discouraged, exhausted, and filled with stress and anxiety as the pandemic continues. It doesn’t lend itself to feelings of excitement and possibility as the Omicron variant surges through our communities. When feelings of sadness and despair start to crowd my mind, it helps me recenter by taking a step back and reflecting on all I am grateful for.

As I look back on 2021, there is so much to be grateful for: my family, my co-workers, all I have learned this last year from both the successes and challenges, and for the advances in fighting this global pandemic. I continue to be impressed by our team, who has accomplished so much despite the continued stress from Covid-19. The HOP team is passionate, committed, and resilient. We have stayed focused on providing excellent programs for community health centers nationwide to advance equity. Examples of our work include engaging health center leadership in a peer learning group to take a deep internal look and discuss structural competency and address the structures in their community that perpetuate racism and poverty. Our team also authored a resource to promote Organizational Self-Care and a Fotonovela to address vaccine hesitancy in farmworker communities. This is just a sample of the work we have accomplished during a very challenging year. Lastly, I am so grateful for our Board of Directors who came together in November to create our strategic plan so our organization has a road map to carry out our mission.

We have continued to change and evolve in 2021 despite all the challenges that we faced both organizationally as well as the continued collective trauma the pandemic has caused. As I look back on the last year, I am reminded that organizational change is hard, chaotic, and often times requires a couple of tries to get it right. I am so grateful for our team’s support, hard work, and tenacity as we find our footing and continue to strive to create impact and improve access and equity in the most under-resourced communities.

As I approach 2022, I am resisting my natural inclination to have large aspirational ideas for hope and change, feeling it is more prudent this year to have measured goals and continue to approach life with flexibility and a nimble spirit. My hope for myself, HOP, and all humanity is to approach 2022 and be just a little bit better in all we do. If we all aspire to just that – to be a little kinder, more understanding and empathetic – our world will be a gentler and more peaceful place. With Gratitude- Cindy