First and foremost, I want to offer a heartfelt thank you to our staff, board of directors, advisory council, donors, and all the frontline educators, youth, parents and partners that make up the amazing HealthMPowers community. Your support meant more this year than you know.
I want to first recognize the reality facing educators, parents and youth as this pandemic wears on. The demands on our teachers, the uncertainty facing so many parents and families and the stress youth are feeling is a reality that we must recognize. At HealthMPowers, we have a culture of learning. And we learned a lot this year. While I am honored to share the successes included in our 2021 Annual Report, the reality is we tripped up a lot, we had to make changes in real-time, and we had to change the way we do business to meet the moment. Perhaps I am most proud of that. Our team, our educators, our community partners and our youth leaders knocked it out of the park this year under difficult circumstances.
This year challenged our team and our HealthMPowers partners on so many fronts. We started to get comfortable with our new normal, we sought new ways to build and maintain connections with one another, and we were reminded, in no uncertain terms, how important the work is to ensure all children are nourished and active. This year, we:
- Were forced out of our comfort zone. We began the transition to dynamic digital content delivery platform, ensuring we could reach more educators than ever before.
- Stopped talking, and started listening. We made centering youth voice and leadership a priority.
- Faced the truth. Our staff and board of directors took the hard first steps to implement an organizational-wide commitment to championing healthy equity.
- Showed up to meet people where they are. We spent more time on personal technical assistance calls. We stayed late after trainings ended. Offered regular virtual and in-person trainings. Took phone calls at all hours and served as a true ally in the classroom and in schools to support educators burdened by so many demands on their time.
We have a long way to go, and while I am proud of all we accomplished, I am most proud of our team’s unwavering hope and determination to achieve a future where all children are nourished and active. As we reflect on this last year and look to the future, I hope you’ll join me in celebrating and building on these exciting successes, learning from our missteps and growing stronger and more effective each and every day.
Jennifer L. Owens
President & CEO
When children get what they need to thrive today, we invest in our shared economic prosperity tomorrow.