I often wonder how to summarize my awe and gratitude when I am asked to write something like this. How does one put onto one page all there is to say and acknowledge? Thank you to our staff, our board, our volunteers, our donors and business partners. It has been quite a year with many great things happening along with our fair share of growing pains and challenges.
Now nine years into our mission, we find ourselves at an interesting juncture as an organization and as a community. One that has caused all of us to pause and reflect with more and more frequency on both the why and how of what we are doing and where we are going.
In the fall of last year, we received preliminary findings from a research study with MIT and the Harvard School of Education including brain scans that concluded that the Calmer Choice program was in fact making a difference in decreasing anxiety, improving emotional regulation, enhancing attention and reducing stress. Researchers for both MIT and Yale now have papers pending publication with more in the pipeline, providing increased evidence in the efficacy of our programs and what we teach.
We hosted new events and had record-breaking fundraising in others. And then to top off the year, this last June, in an effort led by Senator Julian Cyr, we received notice that Governor Charlie Baker approved $50,000 in state funding for Calmer Choice, recognizing us as an innovative leader in the substance abuse prevention movement.
And yet... among our small staff, we have attended 5 more funerals of young people dying of opioid overdoses in the last six months alone, and have known of many more here on Cape Cod who have lost their lives to this battle. There is still more work to be done, and every day we must begin again, inspired and determined to bring our mission of kindness and compassion to all those who need us.
Thank you for being a part of the community of people who make this work possible.
With love and gratitude,
Fiona Jensen, OTR/L