In her insightful blog, our Board Chair, Bea Hadikin, writes, “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.”

Bea’s words have inspired me to reflect on the concept of gratitude. Many definitions of gratitude exist, but generally these can be paraphrased as the expression of giving thanks, appreciating someone or something and wanting to reciprocate or share.

Some people may be reluctant or insecure to manifest gratitude. It means to give credit to others for their good actions that benefit us individually or collectively. Manifesting gratitude requires the willingness to suspend ego and allow vulnerability and humility to emerge. Resistance is futile. On many accounts, expressing gratitude contributes to a happy, healthy and vibrant life. So, we would all do well to practice it more.

I am grateful for many things in my life. I have many wonderful personal and professional relationships, I live in a pleasant home, I have the resources to meet my basic needs and the list goes on. For some reason these days, I’ve been particularly thankful for human decency, which to me means to treat each other with respect and dignity. More than espoused values—not that these are not important, but people tend to view and live them through their own lens, human decency is usually a commonly accepted and understood social courtesy. Even when it’s not skillfully demonstrated, the intent behind human decency is crisp and clear. It’s human decency that fosters the motivation to reach out to someone in need, to broach a difficult conversation with dignity, to develop social intelligence and to self-reflect and be accountable for our own actions.

When cultivated together, gratitude and human decency generate a living philosophy that guides compassion for others and promotes affirmative human interactions. It creates the equilibrium necessary to achieve a humanistic and inclusive society in which social barriers are lifted, imaginary lines are erased, and physical walls are demolished.

In my role as Director of Development at UNITI, I witness this living philosophy through the caring work of my colleagues who provide direct services to people with disabilities under the auspice of Semiahmoo House Society. For the last 61 years, this organization has contributed to an evolving society and initiated the process of shifting mindsets by opening hearts to what is right. Congratulations, Semiahmoo House Society, on your raving accreditation results and well-deserved praises from a grateful community.

I would also thank all staff, volunteers, board members, donors, sponsors, guests and all others from the various organizations, including ours, that make this community what it is: mindful, collaborative and inclusive.

Giving thanks change us all. Developing human decency will transform the world.

Louise Tremblay, Director of Development at UNITI

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!

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