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Elmcrest looks ahead to 2021 - a message from our executive director

Joseph Geglia

As 2020 comes to an end, I am grateful. In spite of the all the difficulties we’ve faced this year, Elmcrest has continued to deliver on our cause every single day. That would not have been possible without our family of supporters, especially our Board, our staff and our donors. Your dedication, sacrifice and generosity have sustained us and the youth we serve, even when this year was at its most bleak.

I can’t thank you enough.

We began 2020 ready to celebrate the 175th anniversary of Elmcrest’s founding. While the pandemic put a damper on the festivities, we can now celebrate something more important: our resilience and the lessons learned from our founding mothers so very long ago.  To best honor their promise of protection, our staff made the necessary changes to every one of our many programs, ensuring the safety of all.

Some of our favorite annual events, including two of our biggest fundraisers, Meatball Madness and the Child@Heart charity dinner, had to be canceled. We’ve been gratified that our donors nevertheless came forward in support of our cause. (If you haven’t yet made your donation this year, click here to donate now.)

With minor changes, we still found ways to run most of the enriching activities our youth residents love every year, including our annual kickball tournament and Pumpkin Patch Hayride. Some events, including our annual Holiday Book Fair and other holiday events, required significant creativity and extra effort to run successfully.

We also launched some new traditions in 2020. For the first time, members of the public were able to grant the holiday wishes of individual children at Elmcrest. As Elmcrest Elves they made Christmas bright for dozens of children in need. We also showcased our character-building program like never before through our Gratitude Project.

As we look toward 2021, I know Elmcrest will face more challenges. We’re facing cuts from our government funding partners larger than we’ve seen in 25 years. And we know the pandemic will not recede nearly as fast as we wish it would.

But I also know that we have new strength borne of the adversities of 2020. Our board is more committed than ever to deliver on our cause and we look forward to the future secure in your support and that of a caring community.

We plan to launch a new initiative to respond to the growing need for residential mental health services for area youth. We’ll work with partners on plans to bring housing stability and critical services to young parents and preschoolers in Syracuse. And we’ll grow and engage our family of supporters in new ways so that we can build on the promise of children and families for generations to come.

Thank you for your continued support of Elmcrest and the children of our community.  Together, we’ll make 2021 our best year ever.

Joseph J. Geglia
Executive Director, Elmcrest Children's Center