Here at The Kim Foundation we are blessed with very thankful hearts this Thanksgiving. We are thankful for the incredibly strong individuals and families who reach out to us and share their stories of triumph and struggles; the numerous community partners that have made Don’t Be Sidelined and our other awareness efforts so successful; the incredibly generous supporters who made A Time for Hope & Healing with Mariel Hemingway a huge success and memorable event; the many volunteers who help us do what we do; the numerous grantees we support annually to provide impactful services in the mental health field; a supportive and passionate board who enables us to continue this meaningful and ever so important work; the loyal employees at C&A Industries who give back in so many ways and support us in all that we do; and for each of you who in some way help us fulfill our mission of serving as a supportive resource and compassionate voice for lives touched by mental illness. We are thankful for each and every one of you!
This is my favorite time of year as families gather together to give thanks for the many blessings that surround them. Not that there aren’t struggles and heartaches, but for a brief moment, those are often set aside to be grateful and appreciative for all that we do have. For me, I’m thankful for a cheerful, kind, talented 13-year old daughter who lights up my life daily; a family who pulls together when needed and laughs together often; good friends whose support seems to be unwavering; a job I am excited to go to every day and provides me the opportunity to give back in an area that is often overlooked; relatively good health; a furry little pug who makes me laugh every day; a home I have worked to make my own; and that I still possess the drive, desire, and ability to learn something new every day.
But I know that I am extremely fortunate to have all of these things and for some, a safe place to call home, strong health – both physical and mental, supportive family and friends, and steady employment, may not be things they can give thanks for this year. Let’s please remember those folks who are facing any struggle this holiday season, especially those with a mental illness that we work to advocate for at the foundation. Say an extra prayer for them, if you’re the praying type. Donate food and supplies to your local shelter or pantry. Volunteer to serve a meal. Offer a simple smile and hello as you pass them on the street. Be truly grateful for all that you do have, and compassionate toward someone who isn’t as fortunate this Thanksgiving and holiday season. Most of us are capable of giving back in some way, so use this season of thankfulness as a time to reflect on the many blessings in your life and how you can give back to someone who may be a little down, but not out. Not with our help.
Again from all of us here at the foundation, we are so thankful for the incredible amount of support and outreach we have received this year. We are making great strides in fighting the stigma of mental health and building awareness so that hopefully one day soon mental illness will be viewed just as every other medical condition is, but we know we couldn’t do all of this without your help. Thank you, and have a blessed and wonderful Thanksgiving!
Julia Hebenstreit, Executive Director of The Kim Foundation
Julia received her J.D. from Creighton University in 2005, and her BS in Journalism from the University of Nebraska Omaha in 2002. She has been with The Kim Foundation for three years, and prior to that worked for local non-profits doing development, strategic planning, communications and advancement. She has a passion for helping people and improving lives, and serves as an active member of the Nebraska Suicide Prevention Coalition, the executive committee of the Nebraska Association of Behavioral Health Organizations, RESPECT Advisory Committee, the Early Childhood Mental Health Coalition and the Adolescent Mental Health Coalition. She also serves on the Women’s Fund Circles Board