One has to assume that the most valued word in 2020 was “pivot” – it seems everyone in every business, industry, or non-profit was using the word to describe the rapid about face adjustments that were needed to stay open, operate, and move to a new way of safely doing things.
On March 16th, the Youth N.O.W. team met to work on our pivot and we were proud to be able to do it, moving to a virtual platform within the week to help our students finish the semester. Later in the fall, another pivot as we welcomed back our students and saw the need for additional support which led to the creation of an outdoor classroom space; increasing and supervising volunteers virtually to meet our students tutoring needs; and being available in a new way to keep doing what we do.
We are proud to have stayed relevant thanks to the art of pivoting.
A week into 2021 though, I now reflect on what may be the new “word” for this year. What will our focus be? What should it be to survive, to still stay relevant in a changed world, and serve others effectively?
With the transition into a new year, things have not all changed back. It is a new road that we now set out on, one that I believe will be paved with more hope, and courage, and compassion but we must remember some of the daunting potholes that were highlighted in 2020. The realities of years of impact on marginalized communities and the rights, resources, and opportunities denied to them.
Let us acknowledge what was highlighted in 2020, and think about the impacts that Covid-19 and the occurrences that happened in the year within our country, and our community signify, and know that there has been a disruption that cannot be dismissed and offers a greater learning opportunity.
If I am to propose a new word for this new year, I would choose one that would allow for this learning, for development to a new way of doing things. It would allow for analysis, strategic planning of a new kind, letting go of certain ways of doing things, and letting new ways unfold. It would mean choosing courage over the fear of changing. It would mean doing things better from here on out.
If I picked a word for 2021, for Youth N.O.W., for all of us, it would be “evolve”.