Dear Families, Friends and Supporters of Families as Allies,

As people's minds and hearts turn to gratitude and giving this time of year, I want to express, on behalf of the board and staff of Families as Allies, how thankful we are for each and every one of you. You are a gift to us. 

We appreciate the organizations and agencies that currently partner with us to fund our work: The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the United Health Group, The CHAMP Project at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Mississippi Thrive, Community Counseling, the Community Students Learning Center, Amerigroup Mississippi, the Mississippi Department of Mental Health, the Mississippi State Department of Health and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. We are thankful to our private donors as well. 

We are thankful to all of you who partner with us on a day-to-day basis, whether you are a mental health provider who checks in about training or how to design programs, a policymaker who calls to find out how potential decisions may affect families in the real world, a media person who wants to understand how a new development may actually affect people, or any of the many other people who contact us. Your interest, thoughts and willingness to work together make a difference. 

Most of all, we are thankful to every family who is part of Families as Allies. We know that you share two of the most precious things that you have with us: your child's needs and your family's journey. It is not lost on us how precious those things are. We believe in you. We respect you and how hard you have fought—and keep fighting—for your child. We treasure your trust and we know that, by all working together, we can make things better for all of our children. 

We wish everyone reading this letter rest, peace of mind and spirit, and enjoyment of family and friends over the Thanksgiving break. 

People sometimes ask us at this time of the year how they can give to Families as Allies. We always welcome your monetary donations, as well as in-kind donations of time, talents and training. But the most meaningful way you can contribute to our work is to notice families in your life who may be struggling. Put yourselves in their shoes. Don't judge. Be kind and patient. If it seems right, ask them if and how you can help. Then listen. And do those things. That is the best gift of all.