Letter from the Executive Director:
There is a common cliché about taking two steps forward and one step back –or, even more dramatically, taking one step forward and two steps back. The idea, of course, is that there are experiences that feel like false starts, or movements toward progress, only then to wind up where you began, or even further behind from your starting place.
2021 felt a lot like false starts as we all continued to live with the COVID-19 pandemic, and we often ran in circles, exerting a lot of effort only to feel like we hadn’t made any progress.
There were COVID vaccinations (step forward), dropping mask mandates (step forward), the Delta variant (a step back), more mask mandates (a step back), and then Omicron (definitely two steps back).
As we emerge into the Spring of 2022 after two years of unbearable challenges brought upon by the COVID-19 pandemic, it feels like many of us are cautiously optimistic, if not warily keeping an eye over our shoulder for which setback may occur next.
Our work at Sojourner House during FY 2021 followed a similar trajectory. Many of our programs grew in scope and size (two+ steps forward); some of our long-time federal funding was cut (a step back); some of our staff fell ill, grappled with family challenges, or decided to transition out of the victim services field (many steps back); and we served more clients than ever before (a strong step forward); but we also grappled with the reality that there were dozens, if not hundreds, of families who remained unserved (many steps back).
2021 also marked Sojourner House’s 45th anniversary as a Rhode Island incorporated nonprofit organization. Throughout our history, we have experienced many triumphs and many failures; we’ve taken many confident steps forward only then to realize that they were missteps. If the past is any indicator, we know that many challenges and successes lie ahead of us as well.
As Sojourner House emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, we do so with a strong foundation, an overwhelmingly supportive community of supporters, and a renewed commitment to execute our mission. The work we do to help victims and survivors rebuild their lives is a non-linear journey that has many circuitous routes. Thank you for joining us on our journey.
Vanessa Volz, Executive Director
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