Today I want to take the opportunity to share with you the note that I sent to the LifeLinks CLASS team on Monday…
Dear LifeLinks CLASS family:
I’m not even sure where to begin in my message to you. Like many of you, I was disgusted and horrified by the senseless killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. I watched on my tv as scenes played out across Boston and throughout the nation over the past few nights that devolved into something that was heart-wrenching and anxiety-provoking. A desperate unhappiness for the country permeates my heart and thoughts.
I realize that today we’re all hurting deeply. We are outraged and heartbroken. As a community, we can stand together. We can help each other. We can respect one another. And, most importantly, we can condemn hate and discrimination in all forms.
There are some immutable realities that we experience every day here at LifeLinks CLASS that – for me – help to equalize my emotions and ground me. First, we are one organization focused on one mission of ensuring the best life possible for each of the individuals we support to be happy and safe. Second, there are many races, religions, and cultures represented in our workforce and the people and families who we support; we are all unique and we actively respect those differences. Third, all are welcomed, and all are supported.
Think about that last statement. Inclusion is a core value of our organization. And it’s not just something I put in the annual report; it means that we collectively aspire to give those individuals we support the opportunity to achieve their full potential in an environment free from discrimination based on race, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, or political ideology.
I know many of you right now feel overwhelmed, anxious, powerless, lonely, frustrated, and angry. We cannot separate the realities of the world from our work. We need to be open and honest with ourselves, and with each other, that there are systemic and ideologic divides right now in our country that are deep and wide. But remember that every day at LifeLinks CLASS we work in ways both small and wide to bridge those divides.
It’s a privilege to do what we do, and I have never been prouder of all of you or more humbled by the example of love and devotion that I have seen expressed during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. You have supported our individuals above all else, including your own families. You have stood shoulder to shoulder carrying a very heavy burden. You are demonstrating compassion to individuals who are at home, struggling to understand the restrictions of a lockdown.
At LifeLinks CLASS we have always valued the preservation of the dignity of life. I pledge to never waver in that commitment.
Jean M. Phelps, CEO
Great message to everyone Jean. Inclusion is the key word and is right on point. Thank you for sharing with us. We are thinking of you all with care and concern – and thank you to everyone for sacrificing and fighting the good fight!!
Wonderful message, Jean, to those who deserve encouragement during this terrible time we are faced with. There can be many difficult days that staff faces while serving our individuals during ‘normal’ times. These days, and perhaps many more to come with this C-19 which can last for who knows how long, are probably more trying for many without having to endure the systemic racism in our country, exacerbated by pure cruelty of people we should rely upon for the safety and decency of all human beings.
Thank you for sharing your letter.
I work for A Little Easier Recovery.org and we are both a tenant and customer at the Lawrence Class location. In addition to Covid-19, I too have been feeling overwhelmed and disgusted at the events happening around us. Your words, encouragement, and acknowledgement of the work and inclusiveness CLASS represents allowed me to be hopeful for brighter days ahead.
As the past President of CLASS and a partner with Jean in working together to successfully merge our two agencies, I am so moved by her powerful letter sent to her staff and the LifeLinks CLASS team. It was heartfelt and powerful!
I wish to express my appreciation for Jean’s leadership during this extremely trying time and to the staff who have demonstrated such dedication to those who look to LifeLinks CLASS for support and kindness.
That is a great message Jean. Yes, the LifeLinks Class is a family, not just employees but family heroes who are so much appreciated for their dedication. Their dedication gives me the energy more than ever to advocate for the individuals they support each and every day of the year.
Paul O’Neill here. Sue & I have resided in Brooklyn, NY since I retired in early 2008. We stay in touch with a number of our Andover friends and business connections. CLASS will always have a soft spot in our hearts. I was so pleased to see the merger happen and CLASS to maintain its identity and mission. A lot of your supporters will remain loyal and involved because of the class with which the merger was accomplished.
Congratulations on your appointment
What a powerful statement! I’m humbled and proud to be a part of the LifeLinks CLASS family, and grateful that our organization truly values inclusion. The perspective you bring that all of us working for LifeLinks CLASS are bridging the systemic and ideological gaps each and every day merely by doing the important work we do is a powerful sign of hope for our community. I can’t wait to showcase the powerful examples of this we see every day – where people come together in support of the goal that everyone deserves a chance to lead a happy and fulfilling life.
If you have a story you want to share, please do reach out to me at email@example.com.
-Dan Esdale, Chief Communications and Marketing Officer