This week we celebrate Thanksgiving, a day of sharing with family and friends, and a day to celebrate our diverse cultures and traditions. Thanksgiving is also an appropriate time to reflect on the treasures in our life that we sometimes take for granted. To me, our families are our most important treasure. It is very fitting, then, that National Family Week coincides with the celebration of Thanksgiving.
The theme of “connections count” embraces the premise that children live better lives when their families are strong, and that families are strong when they live in communities that connect them to economic opportunities, social networks and services. These connections include access to high-quality education, medical and behavioral health care services, recreational programs, affordable child care services, social services and most importantly, positive, loving and caring relationships within and among family members. Strong and healthy families provide a safety net for our society, which protect against poverty and illness. Strong and healthy families are the first to provide us with nurturing, comfort and compassion. Strong and healthy families provide the springboard for our children to grow and mature as emotionally strong, healthy and confident adults.
Families traditionally connect and celebrate during Thanksgiving week, so it’s the perfect time to thank one another, as well as the other individuals and organizations who help the families of our communities to thrive. Here in Oak Park, Forest Park and River Forest, we are very fortunate to have so many excellent organizations that are here to make a difference in the lives of the families of our communities.
During our Thanksgiving festivities and during the celebration of National Family Week, let’s remember that families shape our communities and the lives of our children and grandchildren. When divorce, substance abuse, violence, mental illness or economic difficulties affect the families of our communities and help is not available, we are all affected. When families grow and prosper, our communities will do the same.
As we begin the holidays and the season of giving, please assure that these services are available to community residents by remembering in your giving these agencies that keep the families of our communities healthy and strong.
President and CEO, Thrive Counseling Center