December 23, 2020

It's the adjective used most often as we all attempted to summarize the cascade of events we found ourselves navigating this year. And rightfully so. This year, we saw our world and communities flipped upside down in ways we haven't seen before. Unprecedented. And we also saw community leaders and neighbors and teachers and volunteers throughout the Miami Valley working together to flip their communities right-side up in ways we hadn't seen before. Unprecedented.

Yes, this year was unprecedented. And so was the Miami Valley's unity. Here are a few reminders of why. 
A lot changed this long year. One thing that hasn't changed: our commitment to showing up and sticking around for the good of the Miami Valley. Whether it is overcoming this year's difficulties or preparing for next year's uncertainties, we're here for the long haul for the good of the Miami Valley. 

And your year-end gift ensures we can continue to see despair transformed into hope in the Miami Valley.
Give to Change in the Miami Valley
What happens when it feels like the world stops? 
Answer: Hope picks up the pace.

This year, it seemed as if the world stopped for families and communities everywhere. Schools closed, then reopened, then closed again. Outings were put on hold; celebrations were postponed; restaurants held fewer tables and chairs; and the holiday moments we longed for a moment of normalcy from looked different. It seemed as if the world stopped. But not for MVLF. This year, we came together to innovate solutions, pivot plans, redeem the time, and remind neighbors and communities of one thing: Hope doesn't stop when the world does—it picks up its pace. 

What did we do when it felt like the world stopped in the Miami Valley? We started new Hope4Communities, like in West Dayton. We hired new team members, like Ronnie Moreland. And we partnered with more nonprofits and mobilized more churches to come together to care for their communities. We continued building the capacity of partner organizations, ensuring neighbors had access to the right resources at the right time. 

What did we do when schools closed? We met students where they were: online. We shifted our in-person mentoring rhythms to a new online mentoring approach called "E-mentoring." We helped mentors meet with mentees online through Zoom calls. We facilitated handwritten letters between mentors and mentees and their families. We matched new mentors with mentees both online and in schools that slowly reopened. And we launched new online mentoring platforms to help students at home develop their confidence, social networks, and excitement for the future. This year, MVLF's mentors did everything they could to reach mentees before isolation and loneliness did.

As Shannon Todd, MVLF's Mentoring Program Director, shared: "This is a powerful reminder of the incredible impact our mentors have had on their mentees. I am so thankful for every mentor who has partnered with MVLF to invest in the future of Dayton!"
What about the communities where schools reopened? We met them by meeting their needs. Hope4Communities in Miamisburg, Riverside, and West Dayton made sure students and teachers and learning centers had what they needed for the school year.
  • In August, Hope4Riverside, in partnership with Mad River Local Schools and its administration and teachers, held the area's annual "Day of Giving Back," helping deliver one thousand backpacks filled with school supplies to area families.
  • In September, Hope4Miamisburg (H4M)—in partnership with BOGG ministries, Planting Seeds, Kettering Hospital, and area churches—delivered hundreds of cases of water, over 500 masks, and almost 100 gallons of hand sanitizer, along with donated laptops and more to area schools.
  • And recently, Hope4WestDayton delivered laptops to area nonprofits coming alongside youth and their families to help them overcome the educational difficulties of this year.
MVLF's Hope4Communities helped ensure area schools, students, and teachers could confidently and safely navigate this year. As Sarah Pelphrey, MVLF's Hope4Communities Director, shared: "I can truly say that H4M has been a life giver in 2020. Watching people put themselves aside for others is powerful as people love and meet their communities’ needs and bring hope in the midst of the crazy.”

Let's not forget the neighborhood clean-ups and new mentor trainings in West Dayton, along with the countless meals donated through "Grab and Go" lunches in Miamisburg and food deliveries throughout the other communities where Hope4Communities serve to battle food insecurity, ensuring families had food in their fridges and on their tables no matter what this year threw at them. 

And we're not finished. As we step into 2021, we're developing more ways for mentors to safely connect with mentees online through E-mentoring; we're leaning into more opportunities to serve area families—particularly fathers; and we're coming alongside more churches, civic leaders, and nonprofits to stand up more Hope4Communities. 

This was the year we saw that even though the world can feel like it stops, hope doesn't.

And we invite you to participate in bringing hope next year to the Miami Valley with your time, treasure, or talent. 
Give to Change in the Miami Valley

This holiday season will look different, but we can still celebrate hope! Declare and Miami Valley Leadership Foundation are partnering with Miami Valley churches to present Hope 4 the Holidays. Bring a cozy blanket, hot chocolate, and join us at the Dixie Twin Drive-In on December 27th at 6 p.m. for a holiday experience on the big screen, followed by “The Star” family Christmas movie.

Click the button below for more details! 

Hope 4 the Holidays Information
The MVLF Team