As we witness ourselves at the helm of the holiday season, we must take a moment to reflect on ourselves and on the sacred values that define us as human. Diverse in our beliefs, we share a common cause, a promise to our charter of existence to care about our fellow humans and look after their welfare. This is not a task bestowed upon us, but who we are.
At Step Forward we embrace this identity and celebrate its connotations. This past year has been challenging on multiple levels, yet the program managed to exhibit major accomplishments. What sets us apart is not our name or our portfolio, rather our creed that states a commitment to all and a preference to none. During these festive times, we look beyond our accomplishments and into their effects on youth and the community.
365 Days of Empowering
Through the midst of economic and health challenges, the Step Forward Initiative (SFI) managed to maneuver its operations to adapt and overcome the hurdles. With 121 new interns and volunteers recruited, the SFI expanded its scope of influence and was able to score major success points. This success was translated into a melting pot of cultural diversity where we were able to recruit interns from universities around the globe, most notably Harvard and Oxford. During the past year we have left a distinct cultural footprint as our team included personnel from 15 different countries in the world, each contributing to our mission in their own way. The SFI has also forged new connections and reinforced existing ones with international partners like Harvard University`s School of Education, and the Indian Embassy in association with the Elite Center of Culture and Education (EdCIL) to name a few. With the rise of the COVID-19 threat and its implications on the mental and physical wellbeing of our staff and interns, the Step Forward Initiative mobilized its resources to assist in the awareness efforts regarding the pandemic. Interns prepared presentations about COVID-19 to educators and staff members along with “Health and Wellness” assessments. In addition to that, the SFI has participated in external health events, most notably the “Mentee & Chill Mind &Body Healing” event targeted toward educating people on the powers of a clear and healthy mind and its effects on the body. Other events included Menstruation Awareness Project and an art relief session.
Our legacy is the change we cause in others, and as we witness their success, we take pride in our accomplishments.
The tenacity of the holidays was reflected in our work during this past month, where we transformed our offices into a hub for festivities. Our focus was oriented towards team building retreats. We realize the critical role of teamwork and collaboration in reinforcing the commitment to our purpose. Hence, we invested in team retreats that targeted the cohesion of the team and the exploration of its potential. Most notably was the holiday dinner hosted at the residence of Ms. Noura Shaheen. The evening was pleasant with a collection of team building initiatives, refreshments, and entertainment activities as well as brief discussions on the future of the Step Forward Initiative and its outlook for 2022.
Looking ahead, we hope to expand the scope of our operations and recruit a greater number of interns to accommodate the expansion of our services. The Step Forward is nurturing with the changing needs of its constituents. Several initiatives are under negotiations and research to assess their application potential. With this binding grit and perpetual energy we ensure that we will welcome 2022 with the hope and positivity that we share at the SFI.