On January 1st we welcomed a new year and a new decade. I also celebrated my third anniversary here at Housing Assistance. The same excitement and admiration I felt my first days coming in as CEO have only grown in depth and poignancy during my tenure.

As I did last Christmas, I spent the holiday at one of our four family shelters. This is a day of service for me. It is a pleasure to give one of my shelter colleagues the holiday off to spend with their family while I envelop myself in the daily life of our clients and our programs.

The holidays can be hard for some of us. Staying in a shelter leaves children and parents feeling especially fragile and lonely. Being witness to the perseverance and strength these moms demonstrate is nothing short of an honor. Their commitment to tend to the details of their lives fills my heart with joy beyond measure.

Despite their situation and circumstance, the moms at Angel House are making choices to get their life back on track and be the best mom possible. Their stakes are higher than most with a quest to not only break the cycle of addiction, but also to raise healthy, thriving children.

Christmas was a day of simple pleasures. The physical gifts were sparse, but meaningful. However, the love and peace in the house was bountiful. I played with the kids while the moms journaled and socialized. One mom led the group creation of a gingerbread house. Of course, we played with all the new toys and art supplies.

The moms and I sat at the kitchen table reminiscing and laughing while the children alternated between playing and eating. We shared a meal and remembered to be grateful for the grace that we each experience daily. The day passed quickly and many of the activities were the same that I shared with my own daughters when we celebrated Christmas a day early.

For me, holding the babies and watching them play was truly a gift. The community supported each other, allowing peace and joy to fill our time. It was an impressive effort on a day that can be ripe with expectations, regrets, and pressure.

There are sweet moments from the day that will fill my heart throughout 2020.

I remain grateful that I said yes to a job as CEO of Housing Assistance. For me, providing these families, and all those we serve, with an opportunity to begin again in a safe, stable home that they can afford and where they can flourish is worth every effort and every dollar. Thanks to all our donors and volunteers, as well as my colleagues and Board of Directors for joining me on this journey. Together, we do great things for those who need us most.

To new beginnings,

Alisa Magnotta