By: Cecka Rose Green

Many of us anticipated great things from 2020, the “year of perfect vision.” We did not anticipate a year of tribulation like we had never before seen.

From record numbers of coronavirus cases and the rising unemployment rate to adapting a new world order — let’s face it…life was hard. Many of us are still struggling, trying to work it all out and find the rainbow in the midst of the storm.

Frankly, like many others, I can’t wait to bid an unapologetic adieu to 2020 with great hope and expectancy for what the next year will bring, while remembering the shining moments of good that got us through this year together.

Amid the hardships and challenges, the resiliency of humankind truly has warmed my heart. Health care workers on the front lines, giving comfort and saving lives in the face of a deadly pandemic. School teachers finding creative ways to keep our children engaged and learning. Business owners making modifications to stay open while keeping their customers and employees safe. Neighbors helping neighbors in need of supplies, comfort or a helping hand.

In this same vein, Children’s Home Society of Florida has continued to operate so no child or family has to face tough times alone. When life is hard, we do good — but, we don’t do it alone.

Now, more than ever, we are grateful for our community partners, such as North West Florida Health Network, Leon County Schools, Florida A&M University and FSU PrimaryHealth along with our local board of directors and generous donors. Together, we are meeting the demands of an unprecedented public health crisis and finding new ways to give optimism and assistance to families in need. Here are just a few examples.

When the rest of the Big Bend went on lockdown, CHS case managers — armed with PPE and courageous hearts — hit the streets to make sure children were safe. They helped families who were separated stay connected, and brought comfort to kids in an unprecedented time of uncertainty. While these everyday heroes tend to fly under the radar, their impact soars high and they keep the heart of this community beating and strong.

Sometimes all it takes to make someone feel better is a listening ear. That’s why we launched our statewide Family Support Warm Line, providing free 24/7 access to a counselor with a call or text. Since the coronavirus outbreak, families have been dealing with a massive shift in their routines. It was especially hard on teens to cope with isolation from their peers and friends. Since May, the CHS Family Support Warm Line has provided support to more than 4,000 individuals throughout Florida — in partnership with our network of local community organizations that could bring families the right support at the right time, including through mentors, help with paying utilities, food assistance and so much more.

Being a parent is tough in the best of circumstances, let alone parenting a little one in the middle of a global pandemic. Parents were at their wits end trying to balance being a teacher for their kids at home while also working full-time. At CHS, we believe it takes a village – and we weren’t going to let the virus stand between us and the families we serve.

With the Community Partnership Schools model at Sabal Palm Elementary, we continued to act as a lifeline to parents – helping to manage their stress, provide basic needs and health care, and create new, safe routines for their families. Together, we made it through.

All the while, CHS has not missed a beat on the other important good work we do to ensure that more families are safe, strong and together. Our adoptions team even exceeded its goal this year, helping nearly 100 children find their forever families.

During this season of hope, I encourage everyone to take a few quiet minutes to count your blessings, and remember that, while it may be a cliché, we all really are in this together.

If you know someone who is struggling and needs a guiding hand or someone to just listen, CHS is here. Please don’t hesitate to send them our way.

And, if you are in a position to help others, please consider a gift to CHS at and help us continue to meet the needs of this community — no matter what 2021 may bring.

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