From the President and CEO
A quote, which is a favorite of mine, is attributed to Fred Rogers, aka Mister Rogers. He said,
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers—so many caring people in this world.”
2020 was a scary and trying year for all of us. When the pandemic first hit, there was tremendous fear and chaos all around us. I did not have to look far to see all the helpers, St. Louis Arc staff members were all here to help. The pandemic has forced our staff to quickly create new and innovative ways to support people and keep our agency going. While I have been amazed, impressed, and in awe of each of our staff, I am in no way surprised by the dedication and care they have shown to the people and families we support. They have not flinched in the face of adversity, and have shown up day after day to serve. Many have risked their own health and safety in order to help others.
I have witnessed and heard countless stories of heroic and herculean efforts by our staff to help during this pandemic. Our residential staff members have continued to provide exceptional 24/7 care to our residents to ensure their health and safety and to keep them active and entertained. Children’s Services, Connect, Supported Employment, and Community Engagement have all had to create and balance virtual and in-person supports. The Leisure and Launch teams have been truly innovative providing ongoing, unique virtual programs. Family Support has handled thousands of calls for resources and help while maintaining critical services and supports. Our operations and advancement teams have ensured steady funding throughout it all, and helped secure the necessary personal protective equipment for our employees. Each team within the Arc has been flexible and has changed their services and operations at a moment’s notice to ensure our support continued, and people were safe.
Without a doubt, this has been the most challenging of my 31+ years at the Arc. However, I am most grateful to serve with incredible, helpful colleagues who continually rise to challenges and exceed all expectations. As the year comes to an end, I want to express my sincere, deep gratitude to everyone at the Arc and everyone who has supported the Arc throughout this challenging year.
I look forward to 2021 with great hope. I wish each of you joyous, peaceful, and happy holidays.
Mark A. Keeley, MSW, LCSW
President/CEO, St. Louis Arc