Tomorrow is a day to come together for Thanksgiving and fellowship. Families and friends all around will gather to share time and meals together, commemorating the importance of relationships and togetherness. Thanksgiving is a tradition steeped in gratitude – stemming from the idea of “giving thanks.” Something so simple and obvious can easily be taken for granted. Unfortunately, the things closest to us in life are also often taken for granted; family, friends, home and a sense of belonging. Thanksgiving reminds us of what is really important in life – human connection.

It is precisely this connection that Damascus Way seeks to facilitate at our programs. Many of the men in our program have, for various reasons, lost a sense of communal or in some cases familiar connection. But we all know that every individual longs to find a community, whether big or small, that they can authentically participate in. A space to be yourself, to grow, to be vulnerable, to learn and to live. It only takes one healthy community connection for a person to begin to find a sense of belonging. In the work we do at Damascus, we never want to take that reality for granted – and so we are so thankful that we get the privilege and responsibility of creating and finding community for the men in our program. This responsibility is one that we have to take seriously, one that we have to evaluate constantly, so as to better serve and connect those who come through our doors.

This week we reflect on the privilege it is to serve in the field of reentry and how grateful we are to be staffed by individuals who feel called to this line of work. We thank our employees for putting in the work, both spiritually and physically, to build and maintain what we have. We thank our residents, for being the inspiration and reason for what we do. We thank our many partners and donors for providing for us in a myriad of ways, for sustaining our work through many, many seasons.

We’re especially grateful for the testimonies and the stories that our participants share with us – the moments of vulnerability and emotion, the moments of strength and resiliency. In particular, we are grateful for the the fathers enrolled in Destiny Dads, who have shown remarkable resolve in the face of difficult circumstances and situations. We are grateful for their contributions to our weekly support group gatherings and the great brotherhood that has formed amongst those attending.

All of these things, and many more, form the foundation of what makes Damascus Way successful. So with gratitude, we lift these words of thanks up to God, who is the ultimate sustainer of our ministry!