A Note of Thanks from the Executive Director

Dear GRACES Community,

The year 2020 is just about over, and many people are looking forward to a fresh start. When I became the Executive Director of GRACES last year, I had no idea what this year would bring—I don’t think anyone did. I am not going to lie, my anxiety rose as we faced the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. I felt the weight of the responsibility I held as the director, and certainly had a few, “What did I get myself into?!” moments.

Yet, every time I checked my email and saw a donation arrive, I was reminded that the GRACES community shared my responsibility as director, demonstrated through their generous support. Your giving—during a time that has been incredibly challenging for everyone—is truly an inspiration.

Together, we pivoted to provide a fully at-home learning program, with more than 882 hours of distance learning instruction. The teachers and staff quickly adapted to the new learning format, supplemented by 11 workshops you provided through your benefaction. Students learned to learn on cell phones with data packages, using limited school supplies at home, and they continued to engage in their education every single week of school.

Additionally, we provided 124,876 meals, with only 14,080 of those before in-person classes were cancelled. When COVID-19 struck, we shifted from providing two complete meals in school every day, to providing food bags every other week with enough supplies for 42 meals. This massive effort to meet the students’ and families’ basic needs was only possible because of your generosity.

I was amazed at the commitment and effort of the GRACES Board of Directors and staff, and the teachers and staff at Escuela Integrada, as everyone adapted, reinvented and persevered over and over throughout 2020.

Time and time again, God reminded me of the beauty of a global community that truly knows how to “carry each other’s burdens.” The reality is that this year and every year is a team effort. We are all a part of the same mission to not only provide education, but also to provide the opportunity for our students and families to grow into their God-given potential.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for sharing the responsibility. The year 2020 has been a year of growth for Escuela Integrada and GRACES, and we could not do it without you.

Have a blessed New Year,

Hannah Nadeau Giron
Executive Director of GRACES