2019 at ASN: A year to be proud of
You’ve probably heard by now that it is Holiday Season in the world of nonprofits, also known as End-of-Year. There’s a strong likelihood that you’ve received 20 or more emails, postcards, social media posts, and/or phone calls to tell you how important your support is this time of year. And it’s true, your support is extremely important this time of year.
It’s extremely important every other day of the year, too.
The barrage of end-of-year emails, posts, and requests can be overwhelming, and frustrating even, but one of my favorite things about the onslaught of outreach we are currently experiencing is that it gives us an opportunity to look back on the past year, learn from our mistakes, and celebrate when we got it right.
As I look back on 2019 at Arkansas Support Network, I’m proud of the things we’ve accomplished this year. We’ve directly supported over 500 individuals across the entire State of Arkansas through Supported Living, Personal Care, Center for Enrichment, Vocational Services, Family Support Services, and Autism Services. We’ve supported, advocated for, educated, and/or collaborated with over 2,400 individuals and families in total through all of the agency’s programs and services. For almost 32 years now, we’ve held firm to the belief of our founding mothers that all people can live in the community and that all people deserve to live a meaningful life. I’m proud to say we didn’t let up on that commitment in 2019.
The highlights I’m proudest of this year are not necessarily “services” in the traditional sense. They aren’t services that can be billed to Medicaid, anyway. They are the spaces we held for people to exist when the rest of the world wasn’t willing to make that space.
One example of those highlights is the success of our friend Natalia whose resilience and bravery has taught us way more than we’ve given to her. Natalia is a transwoman who’s overcome so many obstacles in order to live her truth and find peace in her daily life. Recently, after a long and difficult process that included extra challenges because she is a person with a disability, Natalia was successful in getting her name legally changed. We can’t take credit for Natalia’s accomplishments, but we are thrilled we get to go along for the ride with her and so many other people we support who push back every day on the barriers that world puts in place for them.
The services we provide at ASN are dynamic. We work hard to meet people where they are at and support them how they need.
It’s important to us that we aren’t trying to stuff people in the traditional “boxes” of services. Instead, we try to understand the hopes, dreams, and desires of the people we support in order to build services that meet those needs.
We don’t always get it right, but we’ll continue to try to honor and respect the people we support and the contributions they make to the world every day.
If that’s work that is meaningful to you, please consider supporting ASN in your end-of-year giving and throughout the year to come. We can’t do this work without the support of our community.