Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thank you.

From Museum director Janice O'Donnell:

You know that tradition where you go around the Thanksgiving dinner table and everyone says what he or she is grateful for? Pretty corny, but nice too. And, yes, I know that the Thanksgiving letter from the nonprofit director is kind of like that. But here’s the thing – I really am grateful.

I’m thankful that I work in such a joyful place, that all I have to do if my spirits need a lift is walk out of my office and watch a family doubled over with giggles in front of the funhouse mirrors. Actually, I don’t even have to leave my office. As I’ve been writing this, an adorable toddler peered at me through my window. I smiled and waved at him and he grinned back. Some AmeriCorps members paraded by my doorway dressed as a giant potato and enormous apple – something they’re getting ready for the Happy Harvest program this weekend. There’s a lot of laughing around here. I’m thankful that I spend my days with people who are really smart and work hard and who are also playful and appreciate a little silliness.

I have dozens of reasons to feel gratitude every week – a Board member emails to report on a completed task, a donor sends a generous check, a staff member goes the extra mile, a family adds a gift to their membership renewal, volunteers show up to help in the exhibits or prepare a mailing or catalog our library books. But what I’m most thankful for is that all of these people make that commitment of time, talent and treasure because they value children.
And I’m grateful to be part of a growing network of people who care about kids – parents, grandparents, teachers and care providers who bring their kids to the Museum to learn and play and people from all walks of life who join our community conversations and contribute to the PlayWatch listserv discussions. I know that they believe, as I do, that children need lots of opportunities for free play. I’m glad that we've brought our commitment to play and learning beyond the Museum walls and that so many people have joined us; listening and learning from each other, trying things out, and sharing their efforts, challenges and successes. I have great hope that we can make a more kid-friendly, family-friendly community and I thank you for giving me that hope.

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