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Moments of Mindfulness- the 2023 Holiday Season

Hello Dear Family and Friends,

We’re ending another year! Over three decades of our life has been spent at SYS and we are grateful for the joy we’ve been given by this community. Ron and I have become parents, chosen parents, chosen grandparents, in-laws, godparents, and more during that time. In the spirit of remembering the past and slowing down, this holiday season, we’re asking our community and supporters to engage in “Moments of Mindfulness.”

When we signed the lease on this Judah Street property we joked about the fact that we’d be in our 60s when our lease expired and it’s not as funny now. During the last 20 years in our small but cozy Judah St. center we have weathered a pandemic, civil unrest, and the senseless deaths of way too many loved ones. It hasn’t always been easy, but we’re still standing and taking the time to pause, reflect, and breathe. 

Our Wellness Hub has been turned into a peaceful space where youth participate in healing arts programming, cooking and support groups. People often comment about how much peace they feel in that space. 

As I take a moment of mindfulness, I can’t help but think about where the last three decades of my life have taken me. Being the leader of this amazing organization has been an honor and I will forever be grateful for the trust I have been given to lead and love with authentic abandon. This year has brought new faces to our team who have imbued the center with their contagious positivity. New creatives who bring a fresh perspective to our programming, case managers from diverse backgrounds, and folks on the back end in communications and finance helping everything run smoothly. I will always be amazed by the team of resilient, wounded healers at SYS that show up every day to give and love often in the midst of their own sorrow. This is what comes to mind when I take a moment of mindfulness. 

Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, a Sri Lankan Buddhist monk said “Mindfulness gives you time. Time gives you choices. Choices, skillfully made, lead to freedom.” One of our goals has always been to offer different choices to youth and to empower them to achieve their goals without judgment or discipline, but rather openness and communication. 

At our Friendsgiving I saw firsthand the joy of our work. Littles were running around, laughing, playing games and musical instruments–the drums were particularly popular. Our newest Case Manager, Naomi, even allowed them to put a plate of whipped cream in her face–twice! 

What comes up when you take a moment of mindfulness to pause and reflect? What joy has this year brought you? What would you like to take into the new year? We hope we brought you joy. As you pause, we invite you to join us to meet our giving goals for the year. With your partnership 2024 will allow SYS to continue to be a place of stability for youth, young adults and families in need.



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