MarianBaldini
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MarianBaldini

I Want to Start a Movement: There is Always a Light at the End of The Tunnel

In all faiths, the importance of light is a central theme. It shouldn’t surprise us that candles and flames are ever-present references in holy writings, rituals, and practices. In many faiths, light is also associated with the spirit of the Almighty, and it is symbol of hope and wisdom. When those around us have lost their way or are no longer optimistic about their future, we often talk about them being in a “dark place.” We often say things like we want that person to “find the light.” Light is not only a symbol of hope and wisdom, but of resilience, too; it is a reflection of how we keep moving during difficult times or through terrible experiences that happen throughout our lives.

A perfect example of finding the light in the darkness is the story of an amazing a family who remained resilient after tragedy. There was a couple who had one child named Ian. He was bright, energetic, smart, with a wild sense of humor, and he loved God. One day, Ian went sledding with his scout troop and hit a ski lift tower; the trauma was so great that he passed away. As the couple left the hospital with the heaviest of hearts, the coroner anxiously stopped them. He had found a Bible verse talking about the importance of perseverance in Ian’s boot. The couple was so comforted and inspired by what was found that they went on to create a charity called In Ian’s Boots that collects shoes and distributes them to people in need, while sharing the powerful story of Ian’s faith. Although they experienced one of the darkest moments of their lives, this family was able to not only find the light, but to become the light for so many others.

There are all kinds of experiences in life that challenge us to see purpose, find wisdom, and sustain our energy. We all have the ability to see the light if we choose to. Our founders did when KenCrest was started over 114 years ago to help people suffering with what was then incurable — tuberculosis. We brought light into the lives of people in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia, and later adapted our purpose to meet new needs, which included ensuring that all children get a great start in life, and that individuals with developmental disabilities have authentic inclusion in our communities. We bring light to the lives of over 12,500 people each year with the 2000+ employees who have accepted the purpose of carrying that light.

As we prepare to enter a new decade, I encourage you to reflect on the following Bible verse from Galatians 6:9: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time, we will reap the harvest if we do not give up. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” Best wishes to you all as we carry light forward into 2020.

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Marian is the President and CEO of KenCrest a non-profit that provides community-based supports to more than 12,000 people with intellectual disabilities, at over 400 sites in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Connecticut.

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Marian Baldini

Ms. Baldini is the CEO of KenCrest, a human services agency that provides services to children and the intellectually and developmentally disabled community.