Giving Thanks, Growing Forward: A Message from CEO Pamela Watson
On the heels of a warm November, the early December snow reminds us that winter is coming, along with the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. But the spirit of Thanksgiving still lingers here at Rimland. There is no question that we have a lot to be grateful for. In fact, with a full year of programs and services nearly behind us, we’ve been so busy that it’s difficult to believe that 2016 is just around the corner.
Next year, Rimland Services will celebrate 45 years since Rosalind Oppenheim created the Rimland School for Autistic Children in 1971. One of the popular songs 45 years ago was “We’ve Only Just Begun,” famously recorded by the musical duo the Carpenters in 1970. Some of the hopeful lyrics from that song declared, “We’ll find a place where there’s room to grow.” And that’s exactly what we have done at Rimland over these 45 years: we have grown.
We have expanded our Residential Program throughout Evanston and the northwest suburbs of Chicago. We have broadened participation in our Developmental Training Program. We have strengthened our commitment to health and wellness and diversified our programming. And we have invested in our staff and increased their capacity.
But even as we reflect on our many successes, going forward, our focus must be on sustainability. The challenges we faced resulting from the ongoing state budget battle this year have made clear that Rimland must be prepared to weather the vicissitudes of an unstable political and fiscal climate. Look for a formal announcement in the days to come, when we will launch a campaign to create an endowment fund to sustain the critical services that the individuals we support depend upon, even in times of political and fiscal uncertainty.
In the meantime, we are giving thanks to the friends and supporters who have sustained us this year and the many who have joined us along the way in the past 45 years.
Forty-five years! And yet, we’ve only just begun.
Yours in service,
Pamela Y. Watson