When this year began, I think everyone was in agreement that it had to be better than 2020 given everything that occurred last year. Most of us couldn’t imagine a year that could be similar or any worse than a year unlike any we had seen, at least in my lifetime. However, many similarities continued throughout 2021 that we faced in 2020. The pandemic rages on, local suicide rates increased, and uncertainty still surrounds many. However, there were many blessings and highlights this year too. I ask that each of us take some time during this holiday season to reflect on those things that brought us joy this year and positive memories we were able to create throughout 2021.
While I’m having a difficult time believing the year is truly coming to a close, as time seemed to fly by, 2021 did mark a very exciting milestone for The Kim Foundation – our 20th Anniversary! We took a lot of time to “Cheers to 20 Years” with our board, our community partners, and everyone who has made this anniversary possible. For 20 years the foundation has been engaging the community, educating and raising awareness, and saving lives from suicide. We look forward to the next 20 years and are so excited to see what the future has in store, as we continue building collaborations and strengthening our communities’ response to mental health and suicide. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank each of you who have played a pivotal role in our time in the community.
We know that the holiday season can be difficult for some, and none of us truly know what is happening in someone else’s life. Because of this, I ask that you take time to reach out to someone you haven’t spoken to in awhile, volunteer or give back to those in need, smile at a stranger walking by, slow down and notice things around you, and take time to reflect on the many blessings in your life that we often overlook.
Too often, we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and don’t take the time to appreciate all the goodness around us. There is much goodness waiting to be uncovered – if we take the time to appreciate it and reflect. I hope you will join me in slowing down, taking the time to reflect and appreciate, and letting those around me know how much they truly mean. I wish you all a very happy holiday season full of much love and joy, and look forward to seeing what 2022 has in store for all of us!
Please take care of yourselves and each other, and enjoy this special time of year!
Julia Hebenstreit, Executive Director of The Kim Foundation
Julia Hebenstreit is the Executive Director of The Kim Foundation. She 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 since 2011, 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 on the Executive Committee for Nebraska Association of Behavioral Health Organizations, as the 2015 Hill Day State Captain for the state of Nebraska, and as an active member of the Nebraska Suicide Prevention Coalition, the Early Childhood Mental Health Coalition, BHECN Advisory Committee, RESPECT Advisory Board, Connections Advisory Board and the Project Propel Planning Group.