Blog Navigation

New Year Message

How do you describe 2020? 

A recent Washington Post article said the top words to describe 2020 were...






With the Coronavirus, the stalled economy, renewed racial tensions, and general confusion, we can see how these words played out in several aspects of our lives.

At Rising Above, we can relate to those words. Life under COVID has taken its toll on many of our participants. People who struggle with mental health issues are some of the nameless victims of the various levels of lockdowns. Thoughts of forced isolation and healthy recovery don’t work well together.  For someone in recovery, isolation is a set up for relapse. Isolation is discouraged and we work hard to keep people connected and now we have to tell them to separate. Even in the confusion and isolation of 2020, we had a very stable year. Although in March it didn’t feel that way. Having to cancel our banquet with 2 weeks’ notice, left us in a state of loss. Our annual Hope Lives banquet is a major fundraiser for us, and it’s also a place to tell our story of transformed lives. This past year we had 590 people ready to come celebrate with us. On the program side, that first lockdown was hard on many of our participants and we lost several to relapse early on. But things settled. Our financial picture has remained strong thanks to the community people and partners that continue to stand with us. Our beds were consistently full this year - even though we had fewer participants than in previous years, which means our participants were staying longer. We had a higher number of people graduating this past year than ever before.

In saying all this, one more word I would add to the list above is HOPE. With all the uncertainty and fear that has been prominent this year, there is still hope. Hope for a strong recovery. Hope for a brighter future. Hope that some lessons learned about isolation this year will cause us to value relationships more than we have in the past. Our Rising Above participants have taught us that.

Hope for 2021.

As we embrace a new year, still living in the reality of the exhausting, lost, chaotic, surreal, relentless life we have come to know as 2020, we can look for glimpses of hope. We have come this far, let’s embrace this new year with the hope we have that God has this coming year and our best interest in mind.

Happy New Year.

Mel Siggelkow

Categories: From The Director