When I was a child, my mother came home from work each day in December and immediately sat down to go through the mail, excitedly pulling out the holiday cards and letters. Dinner wouldn't start until she read aloud those letters from family in Kentucky and her friends that had scattered from Detroit, our hometown.
The letters told of the progress of lives-milestones, adventures, accomplishments, wishes, and sadness. While we had fun mocking some of the stereotypical letters detailing the overachievements of a family we hardly recognized, most updates seemed boring to my brother and me. But to my mother, these letters were the threads that kept past connections alive for another year.
And for the last twenty years, much to my surprise, I've become a part of this annual holiday letter tradition. We aren't always aware how particular holiday rituals and traditions settle in our adult lives. We chose them-we aren't paid to perform them, we aren't required to embrace them. They become part of honoring our past, expressing our deeply held beliefs and demonstrate commitments to people and causes we care about.
It is with this personal background that I offer All Kinds of Minds' holiday letter to you-our far-flung family.
2010 has been a year of milestones for us:
Yet the most monumental milestone is also our saddest: All Kinds of Minds will cease its day-to-day operations at the end of December.
Like many non-profits, we have navigated tough times these past few years-the worst economic recession in decades, rapid changes in the professional development marketplace, and the impact of negative media focused on unproven charges against our co-founder. Recently, our board and I realized that our energies would be best spent not continuing the ongoing struggle to survive but setting in motion new ways our mission can go forward.
Our board is talking with several organizations about how they might assume some of our activities. We hope to conclude these negotiations by early March 2011. We'll update you on these developments through our website. In the meantime, the website will remain accessible and our providers will continue to offer trainings around the country. Our Attuning a Student online tool will remain active, but customer support will be limited.
And so I end this letter with hope and wishes.
My hope is that, like a time-honored holiday tradition, you'll continue your activities to bring the All Kinds of Minds knowledge and approach to more teachers to help more students. Perhaps you'll do a book study, conduct a seminar, or encourage teachers to access our online modules. Perhaps you'll join our Facebook group-if you haven't already-and keep it vibrant by posting your ideas and ways you are using All Kinds of Minds' work.
And my wish is that you'll adopt new activities to move the work of All Kinds of Minds forward. Maybe you'll write blogs that share your implementation of our approach and difference it is making. Or maybe you'll reach out to our program providers and start informal, regional networks.
All of these activities will keep the mission of All Kinds of Minds burning bright.
I speak for all of the staff at All Kinds of Minds as we thank you for what you've done to build a strong foundation for our work. We will all continue, wherever we land, to do what we can to ensure that the legacy of All Kinds of Minds continues to reach our most vulnerable learners and transform education.
I hope our paths cross again, and certainly, I'll "see" you on Facebook!
CEO, All Kinds of Minds