New Year’s Story & Message

by Jennifer Phillips, CEO/Executive Director

In the wrap up of 2021, one thing is for sure—Keshet’s community is always generous. Your support of our year-end campaign continues, and we are poised to have one of the most successful campaigns in recent years. I can’t thank you enough for investing in Keshet’s commitment to always be there for our participants, families and the larger community.

The year also ended with an emotional phone call that I will not soon forget. I heard from a parent of teenager who attends Camp Chi with Keshet support. The campers from her son’s cabin were getting together. Invitations like this don’t come around often for her son, and he was excited to go. The mom asked the other teens if she should get a support person to be with him; they told her that wasn’t necessary. When she asked where she should drive him, the teens said that they would pick him up at his house. For this one afternoon, her son was just like all other 16-year-old boys, hanging out with friends, being independent and having a good time.

In the year ahead, I know that there will be hundreds and hundreds of stories like this that show the impact of Keshet’s work. It’s these moments that create the feeling of excitement and never-ending energy at Keshet. As we celebrate Keshet’s 40th birthday in 2022, we are even more committed to our mission of creating a community of belonging where people with disabilities learn, play, work, live and grow with people of all abilities.

There are two exciting changes taking place this year that show this mission in action.

Recreation for all: Keshet’s recreation programs continue to grow in popularity, and we are committed to offering more programs that are inclusive of people without disabilities, not just as volunteers but as participants. We are developing new plans for natural supports that will also enable us partner with other organizations to “push-in” to their programs.

Adult employment: We spent the second half of 2021 securing funding for Keshet’s adult day program to provide specialized employment and volunteer roles that meet the group’s interests and needs. Just this week, we are welcoming new program managers who will create a model of vocational skill development that includes immersion in the community with the intention of finding placements for meaningful work.

These plans are just the beginning of everything there will be to share in 2022, and I want you to feel a part of it. In the spring, we will celebrate this success, our community and all of you at Voices of Champions, Keshet’s annual benefit. Mark your calendars for the virtual event and limited in-person watch party on Wednesday, March 9, at 7pm.

Wishing you a 2022 filled with happiness, good health and belonging.

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