After realizing that summer seems to be flying by I started to look at what good I could contribute this year after a pretty strange year. My book is out September 7th and the profits will help mental health organizations but what about the day to day needs of so many in the community? Across the country many are still in recovery from shock, illness, or changes in job status. This affects families, it affects mental health and those who are vulnerable. Never has a lockdown and arguments over vaccines divided people so strongly in my mind. The truth is that this is the turbulent phase of hitting the ups and downs of living in a divided society and a uncertain world.

My heart breaks when I learned that group homes were closed to outside family members during the pandemic. The system that is supposed to take care of kids had closures also with checking in on the families. It must have been extremely painful. Those who finally come into the light in time for the summer months and outings are still having to think about what the new school year will be like? I do not know. I have been home for a year. How is any of this going to work to keep us all level minded while we are masked while learning? How will those who cannot afford school supplies cope with the extra stress of figuring this out, and then of course there are the basics like food and shelter. It all too overwhelming to think about, but it is here right in front of us every day.

The bumps can throw us off course, they can derail our ability to navigate our path. They can be worse or better depending on the day. The turbulence of our lives can fill us with anxiousness and fear because the social rules keep changing.

What I know to be true is that every year we have a birthday, and on this day despite what is happening the day should be stress free and fun. This year I am donating to Together We Rise with a fundraiser for kids in foster care. If we stand a chance of coming out of this strange time with our sanity and self-awareness we need to help remind those who are still in uncertain times that they do not stand alone, we rise together so that every kid has a chance to change course and navigate with confidence through the turbulence of life.

Have a great week-- Ava