I was lucky to be in the bubble of sunshine, palm trees, and golf courses of Southern California in the days leading up to American Thanksgiving. While the cynical among us can view this holiday as the launch to the shopping frenzy of Black Friday (even in Canada!), I have taken a pause to breathe and reflect. I find myself considering the concept of gratitude and the abundance of blessings in my life. For all, I am appreciative and thankful. Even the difficult events and significant mistakes have left me with rich lessons. I was struck by the comments of theologian Meister Eckhart, who said centuries ago, ‘If the only prayer that you say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough’.
Giving thanks can change us all. Instead of looking at what’s wrong; just for a moment, we open our hearts to what is right. And, of course, there are so many things that are right and good. Gratitude grows and develops and inspires yet even more grace in our world.
Today, one of the most satisfying aspects in my life is giving back. After 32 years of an overloaded and highly stressful career, I was able to retire and use my time for meaningful things of my own choosing. Volunteering was never an option for me until retirement and now I can contribute to a quality organization whose goals and practice fit with my beliefs and values. UNITI is the ‘umbrella brand’ for Semiahmoo House Society, the Semiahmoo Foundation, and Peninsula Estates Housing. Everyone in our community is considered an ‘owner’. At UNITI, I am grateful to work with like-minded people who have committed to making the world kinder, more inclusive, and more ‘user friendly’.
In my role as Chair of Semiahmoo House Society, I am blessed with the opportunity to work with senior managers and other Board members who give their energy, commitment, and creativity to serve and support the lives of people with disabilities and their families. As a Board, we strive to support the needs and efforts of dedicated staff members at every level of the organization to problem-solve, plan, and lead in a an exceedingly complicated maze of rules, regulations, and jargon. Thank you for your service! As well, I commend the awe-inspiring leadership demonstrated by the Self Advocates of Semiahmoo. Their work in our community to advocate for people with disabilities to live meaningful and purposeful lives and especially for their endorsement of ‘plain language’ in all communications, is ambitious and insightful.
In addition, I am very grateful for the many many volunteers who do so much to create a culture that allows people with disabilities to live full lives of their own choosing. Thank you!Hats off, as well, to the ‘pioneer’ families who led the way over 60 years ago in this organization to start to build a legacy of inclusive living through relentless work and a courageous vision.
The Semiahmoo Foundation is also directly supported by generous donors in our community. Thank you for your donations and allowing us to build a relationship with you!
Being on the Board of UNITI and working with our ‘owners’ – the people we support and their families, staff, volunteers, donors, employers, community members – has grown my heart and life immeasurably.
My family celebrates Christmas and I respectfully wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas. Best wishes to everyone for a happy holiday season and a healthy and prosperous New Year!
Bea Hadikin, Board Chair
UNITI is the partnership of three affiliated societies that have provided important community services for decades. Semiahmoo House Society provides quality services and supports to people with disabilities and their families in Surrey and White Rock. Peninsula Estates Housing Society provides affordable and inclusive housing that reflects the diversity of our community. The Semiahmoo Foundation assures that UNITI has the recognition, relationships and resources to support an inclusive community. Together we’re stronger!