Hello API Job Corps Centers:
As we reflect on the devastation that South Florida is experiencing and thank our lucky stars that this time around our three centers are safe, it reminds us that there are numerous reasons to be thankful. It is always useful to think about how good we have it and the benefits of gratitude. Researchers have found that being grateful can provide:
· Better sleep
· Better immunity
· Decreased stress
· Lower blood pressure
· Less anxiety and depression
· Healthier relationships
· Higher levels of optimism
E.C. LaMeaux (https://www.gaiam.com/blogs/discover/8-reasons-to-be-grateful) has identified eight reasons to be grateful. Four of them are provided below and modified to fit our Job Corps reality. I hope you can find one or two to focus on in the next month and see how your life changes.
· Life: Especially viewing the Florida devastation, we remember that we can be grateful that we woke up with our home, family, friends, colleagues, pets, etc. Just being grateful for the life we have and the chance to make a difference is profound. For those of us at Westover, Wind River or New Orleans Job Corps, having the opportunity to change young peoples’ lives gives our life the purpose and meaning that can help us through a tough time.
· Health: Being grateful for our health is important since our health is the foundation of who we are. Some of us struggle with physical or mental wellness, but focusing on feeling good is one way to actually increase our health. Being thankful for health is an important practice that can impact our entire life. Our students watch our health habits and need to be taught the link between healthy living and healthy employability.
· Work: At times, we all dislike tasks we are given. Some people seem to complain about their jobs with frequency. They long for a time when they can “retire” and not go to work. We should all remember that work is a blessing that helps us pay our bills, take care of our family, and not be fearful for when or where our next meal will come. Our enjoyment and appreciation of our job comes from our attitude. I am sure the people in Florida without jobs right now are longing for work that can help them meet their needs. In addition, you all work for companies that want your input on how to make things better. Your ideas will be heard. We believe ”People support what they help to create.” Think about how you feel about your job and find one or two things you can be grateful for and watch how your days change. Your attitude about work also impacts the students on our centers. They model what we do, so provide a great example.
· Family: Today more than ever, our “family” does not just include our relatives. Extended family can mean neighbors, church members, work colleagues, and friends. Feel thankful and express gratefulness if you are lucky enough to have people you can confide in and who will be there for you. If you do have family, remember to tell them how lucky you are for them to be in your life. Our students often lack this and need you to help them by providing the appropriate guidance, trust, and care they need.
Although Thanksgiving is next month, it is does not need to be Thanksgiving for us all to feel and express gratitude. Let’s use this next month to reflect on what we all have to be grateful for and share that attitude of gratitude with our fellow staff and our students. I know it will improve our lives.
Give it a try!