EmBe CEO Column: August 2022

Advancing Everyone’s Business

Gratitude can be a difficult feeling for us to access under challenging circumstances and none seem to be as challenging as the childcare crisis impacting parents and providers today.

As I take this time to reflect in the quiet, the stressful memories of the week dissipate, and scenes from our classrooms surface in their place. My mind goes to the moments where I watch teachers give their undivided attention to each student, the tears they shed as their students learn something new, and the sadness on their faces when a student progresses to a new room. 

Just as there is no way to measure their hearts, there is no way we can ever measure their impact, or know how their kindness will change the trajectory of our community.

But gratitude continues to find me as we gather thoughtful and innovative leaders to collaborate and I’m grateful for the collaboration happening within our organization. Such efforts have not only helped executives, policymakers, and media partners understand the complexities of this crisis, they’re actively delivering on our mission to empower individuals and contribute to thriving communities.

Gratitude, as powerful as it is, is not a form of compensation, however. If that were the case, teacher appreciation weeks would resolve a vital aspect of the challenges we’re striving to overcome. Instead, South Dakota is reportedly 500 teachers short with only a few weeks before the new school year begins.

So, while I’m overcome with gratitude for the teachers who provide their priceless devotion to the children in our care, I’m proud that EmBe will begin this school year with a continued commitment to care for our EmBe team.

Without stagnating our efforts to empower all in our proximity, without compromising the quality of care each child receives, and without diminishing the value of a teacher’s dedication to their pupils–that’s truly what advancing everyone’s business means to us at EmBe. As a nonprofit working for a more equitable future for all, this organization is full of individuals who understand their commitment to the community over self, and those who live this mission along with the hardships we strive to help others overcome. 

Beyond my gratitude to be surrounded by them, I’m proud we’re always working to give them more than our mere appreciation. And I hope you take this as a personal invitation to go beyond gratitude. To do this work is to remind others what children deserve when they’re no longer children, what families deserve when they no longer need childcare, and that every discussion regarding business development requires a perspective on everyone’s business: quality, accessible childcare.

For the next month, you can help us advance everyone’s business by donating or fundraising for #embecoretocore here.

If you’re an innovative thinker passionate about accessible childcare, consider joining us at the Childcare Collaborative. I welcome your time, talent, and treasure.

Kerri’s heart: I’m sitting here after going through our classrooms at South and Downtown where I see our team doing really good work. I watched our children playing, inviting each other in to play, asking to share, etc. Then I look at the giant hearts of our team. The tears that they shed when they see a child learn something new. The tears that they shed as they see children move from preschool to kindergarten. They show up over and over again because of the love for our kids and the relationships with their peers. There is no way to ever measure their impact, to know how they change the trajectory of our community because of their kindness, but what I do know is the fact that we can pause, take note and start to imagine.. well, that’s just a fraction of reality. I am grateful for our teachers. I am grateful for our families. I am so honored to be part of this story – the good, the hard, and the hope. We will never be able to pay our teachers equal to their value, but we show up day after day to fight to do right by them, to pay what we can with a commitment to serve our community. The weight of this burden needs to extend beyond us as a provider and the parents paying tuition. My gratitude can only go so far… it’s time for a new solution and new resources to lift up and honor the important work of our teachers.

And all those who work in a non-profit – who commit themselves to working for the community over self.

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