Working at Klinic I have often been struck by the nature and depth of the relationships among our staff and volunteers, and how these carry over to our clients. Tonight as I write this I have just returned from our annual staff and volunteer appreciation event, tonight with our largest attendance ever (over 70 people) and a total of 45 people being honoured for their commitment to the organization ranging between 5 and 30 years. I am in awe of folks who have made such dedicated commitments to this organization, and I am always interested in talking about what motivates them.
This event is one of my favorite Klinic events. I love being able to watch and listen to the people who make this organization what it is enjoy themselves and celebrate each other. Their applause in often thunderous, the laughter is infectious, and frankly the whole thing leaves me feeling a little bit like I have stumbled into a bit of a family reunion. It has all of the elements of a supportive and loving family; acceptance, support, celebration, and important bonds that tie people together, in this case, I imagine it is a mix of a lot of things, including the work.
My favorite photo from this year’s event is one of Teen Talk staff member Ian, holding his daughter- who came up with him to accept his 5 year pin. I had just spent part of my day with Ian and Teen talk colleague Gillian as part of my Day in the Life Series shadowing in school presentations on some very challenging and interesting subjects like STI and Dating Violence (watch for this in an upcoming post). We had the chance to talk about the event tonight and how much they both have enjoyed their roles with Teen Talk over the years (Gillian received her 10 year pin). Seeing Ian’s children, along with several others who had come to the event tonight, reminded me of how much I appreciate the culture of Klinic, and though I find it hard to give voice to what exactly that is I know that it reminds me of home, of family, of what real caring looks like.
To dedicate so many years of your life to one organization is no small feat- it takes a deep personal commitment to the work and the people that you do that work with. And unlike your family it is also a choice. I have so much gratitude for the folks that have chosen Klinic to be their home away from home, thank you.