First recognized in the United States by Oregon in 1887 before becoming a federal holiday in 1894, Labor day celebrates the American Labor Movement. For most people, Labor Day means two things: a break from work and the yearly transition from Summer to Fall. As we say goodbye to an unprecedented summer with all the highs and all the lows along the way, we welcome back the school year and the new unforeseen challenges to come. This year’s Labor Day presents new challenges for each of us as individuals and our community at large. In a recent message to the Impact NW family, Executive Director Andy Nelson reflects on the moment:
“Back to school means many of us will face the new challenge of supporting our children with distance learning, while also meeting the demands of our jobs and other responsibilities. Another act of violence against the Black community is hitting all of us hard, but especially our Black employees who still must somehow show up for their jobs and others despite it all. Our employees need support.”
Each of us could use a little more support. Internally, Impact NW has prided itself on creating and sustaining a work environment that puts people’s well-being first. With the same understanding and empathy we approach the work we do in the community, so too does our own support system create space and opportunities for Impact NW staff members to show up at their best so that we can together fulfill our mission to Prevent Homelessness.
Impact NW continues to examine the pressures put on staff, especially during the pandemic and racial justice fight. Through staff listening sessions and ongoing feedback from staff, especially from parents of school-aged children and BIPOC employees. Impact NW offers opportunities for staff to balance life’s demands and the incredibly important work they do at Impact NW everyday. This has resulted in a flexible work schedule allowing the opportunity for balance in one’s life, numerous self-care days to take a break from work in order to recharge, regroup, and mental health supports for staff. Mutual support for our neighbors has long-been essential to our ethos as an organization – we are from the communities we serve and we will be best at continuing to provide services when we can take care of ourselves, our families, our friends and our neighbors.
This has been a challenging year and it will undoubtedly continue to be. People are going to continue to struggle and face unforeseen vulnerability. We have the power to support and lift up one another both now, through this moment, and long into the future. Andy reminds us of this:
“Most of all, thanks to each of you for continuing to show up for our clients and each other under some most difficult circumstances. You are seen and deeply valued.”
Wherever you are, with whomever you are gathered with on this Labor Day, take a moment to breath, reflect and practice your own self-care.