Holiday greetings, dear friends!
We are thrilled to introduce our new, freshly unwrapped website to welcome the new year. Designed with love by our dear Silicon Valley partners, Exclusive Image, we hope that its vibrant colors and beautiful faces capture for you the renewed energy with which we enter 2019. As the executive director of Generations United, I want to express my God-ward thanks for all of you. Some of you are reading this as long-time volunteers and supporters of our work. Others of you may be learning about Generations United for the first time and are feeling called to join in. Whichever the case, your interest brings much food to the soul, nourishing me and our whole team for the good and hard work that lies ahead.
Many of you are aware of the paradox that is Redwood City and the larger Silicon Valley within which our city rests. The innovation, technological prowess, and entrepreneurial spirit concentrated here, reverberates around the world. Unquestionably, the Valley is transforming the way that humans relate, work and live. With prolific innovation comes prosperity. As geography professor Richard Walker points out, if this region “were a country, it would rank among the top twenty, just ahead of the Netherlands, Turkey, and Taiwan” with a gross domestic product of over $780 billion last year. But such great prosperity comes to some…at great cost to many others.
As I write this, the Redwood City School District is in painstaking deliberations about the fate of several of its schools, all four of them at which Generations United has loved and served since our beginnings. Fair Oaks Community School has been a place of safety and stability for hundreds of families in this beautiful but struggling Latino immigrant neighborhood for several generations. In fact, the librarian has been on this campus for 35 years! Tech wealth, particularly in these past two years, has brought housing and living costs soaring, and further displacement by school closures will further exacerbate the struggle to live and thrive in this place.
But while there are reasons to dismay, we at Generations United are choosing to hope. To have hope in the richness of community and collaboration we have with so many wonderful congregations, nonprofits, government agencies and, of course, the local schools (do visit the “Partners” page). We are grateful for the growing numbers of businesses that are donating their skills, talents, backpacks and school supplies for the cause. We thank the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and the Saga Foundation for their generous support for leadership development and capacity building for our expansion onto new sites in 2019. Last, and certainly not least, we celebrate the God-given gifts, time and energy of the hundreds of loving volunteers that do the day-to-day work of uniting people, across generations, for a better future.
In closing, I wish to share a personal story. Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to join a team from my church, Peninsula Covenant, on a trip to Spain. Albeit a beautiful country, we went not to take in the sights but to visit the work of refugee intake, shelter and social services for the thousands of families that have been forced to migrate from Africa and other parts of the world due to war, famine, and poverty. Suffice it to say, it broke my heart to see so many mothers and children (too often separated) stripped of everything they’ve had, and disoriented in a place not their own. But it also moved me beyond words to see the tireless efforts of so many volunteers, giving of themselves to the work of restoration and resettlement for precious, fellow human beings. This experience changed my life, and gave me renewed passion and energy for the not-dissimilar challenges that so many children, mothers and fathers are facing right here on the peninsula.
We hope you enjoy our new website and, most of all, the opportunity it represents for you to join – or continue to journey – with us in the work of Generations United. For those who are new, please go our “Contact” page and let us know what you’re thinking. Hope to hear from you soon, my friend!