As I sat down to write this column in advance of Thanksgiving, I did what we often do around this time each year: stop and think about our blessings and for what we are thankful. On a day-today basis, we are mostly thankful we have the obvious necessities, our health, family, food on the table and shelter over our heads. The basic things we need to keep us going, growing, and excelling daily, whether that be in our work, caregiving responsibilities, and even philanthropic initiatives.

I believe as we mature, we often appreciate the blessings of life more fully. We begin to realize our jobs, education, food, shelter, and even close friendships are not always the cards everyone are dealt. Sometimes it is easy to take for granted the blessings and favors bestowed upon us.

With that said, we are blessed to live in such a philanthropic community, which not only helps those in need, but offers support to the individuals and organizations who reach out to help others. I would like to think the Osceola Council on Aging (OCOA) is a perfect example of this.

The OCOA is here to support Osceola County residents — and to whomever needs our help whether it be seniors, disabled adults, or disadvantaged families living in poverty. We consistently share how other agencies in the Osceola County community partners to support the OCOA and the community at large through events, donations, and fundraising programs.

Additionally, we are blessed with funding from corporations, philanthropic individuals, volunteers, local County and City governments as well as state and federal grants to support our expansive social service programs and initiatives. We cannot do what we do without them. There is a popular saying which includes “it takes a village” and this adage is true when it comes to helping our community. We are all on the same team, same side, and same heart with the same goal; to better our community. Our success is our partner agencies’ success and vice versa.

We live in a caring community whose support gives us the opportunity and tools to improve the lives our less fortunate neighbors. This unwavering support of OCOA’s work by so many people, is a true blessing, and makes the lives of Osceola residents so much better.

Personally, those who know me know that I am so thankful and blessed to have been appointed to the helm of the OCOA. I love my job, I love my staff, and most importantly, I love what we do for those in need in our community. My largest blessings (besides my job) are the love I have for my husband and immediate family, which I am so proud to call the “crew.” We are Italian-American, we are loud and annoying and like the characters from the TV show “Everyone Loves Raymond,” we love each other more than words can state. We celebrate together, we mourn together, and most importantly, help each other in times of need.

Community, Partnerships, and Family are what I am grateful for this year. These are the things that helped us, and OCOA clients, manage the last two years. Gratitude keeps us grounded and allows us to remain humble. I and the Council on Aging have so much to be grateful for and I would like to take this opportunity to give my thanks to all in our community. Happy Thanksgiving!

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Published Wednesday, November 16th, 2022