In 2020, we wrote about our gratitude for the many people who supported our work despite the challenges of the pandemic. At this point in 2021, we had hoped that things would look a lot different. Yet millions of people continue to struggle with the hardships associated with COVID-19.
Through it all, we have been truly heartened by the many people who have stepped up to help us fulfill our mission. As we enter the holiday season, we take this moment to express how much each of you mean to Blackburn Center.
We are thankful for our staff, who have adapted and grown as the situation demanded. Our staff continues to be innovative in meeting the needs of our community in these difficult times. When we have been able to do so safely, we provide client services, training and education in-person. We have also continued to offer remote services and trainings. We are grateful for all of our staff — our education team, our therapists and counselors, our advocates, our legal team, our shelter staff, and our administrative team — who have worked tirelessly to ensure that we can continue to provide the highest level of services.
Over the past 20 months, our volunteers have also pivoted, rising to the challenge of attending online trainings, interacting with our employees remotely, and stepping up in new ways to support adapted services. We are so thankful for all of the work that they do.
Blackburn Center’s Board of Directors has provided invaluable guidance, support and wisdom through many ups and downs, and times of uncertainty. Their leadership has provided the stability needed to maintain services and continue the important work of the agency’s mission.
Our staff, volunteers and Board members have tapped into resilience and coping skills to get the agency through an incredibly challenging time. They have created a supportive environment for clients, for community partners and for each other. They are all superb examples of the human spirit triumphing.
Our donors and community partners have continued to support our work during a time with many competing needs in our community. Their financial donations and purchase of items for our shelter and more have allowed us to help people throughout Westmoreland County in a very trying time. They sustain the foundation that is Blackburn Center’s mission and services. The agency would not be here, meeting the needs of thousands of victims each year, and reaching tens of thousands of community members with important education and prevention messages, without this support.
As the only agency in Westmoreland County that provides services to victims and survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and other types of crime, we know that we cannot do this work alone. Each of you has helped us meet a critical need for clients and the community, from a safe place to live, to vital education and training programming, to therapy and counseling. We are profoundly grateful for all that you have done and all that you continue to do.
Ann Emmerling, Executive Director