Home > Latest News > 2016: A Year of Change, Success, and Heartbreaking Loss

Dear Moving in the Spirit Family,

2016 was an incredible year for Moving in the Spirit. With your support, we relocated to Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward, provided financial assistance to our new neighbors with annual incomes of $4,000 or less, and launched an outreach class at Peace Prep Academy in Atlanta’s west side.

You also helped us exceed our $30,000 matching goal, raising a total of $78,502 for the children and teens in our programs.

Outwardly, Moving in the Spirit had a stellar year despite the challenges of realizing our mission in a changing fundraising climate. Behind the scenes, however, our staff members were coping with heartbreaking losses.

Every person on our team experienced the loss or life-threatening illness of a family member in 2016. Every. Single. One.

Many weeks we carried a tremendous weight of sadness, especially when staff had to take extended leave to care for family members nearing the end of their lives. As the year went on and one hardship replaced another, I worried greatly for the team’s health and morale.

It would have been easy and understandable for the team to pull back and lessen the scale of our work. But their commitment to our young people, to our mission, never wavered. In the midst of profound grief, at great personal sacrifice, our team pulled together over and over again to care for each other and care for our students.

Their tenacity ensured that our relocation was successful, that exceptional teaching artists were installed in every classroom, and that every child who walks through Moving in the Spirit’s doors has meaningful experiences.

And so today, as I celebrate your contributions to our success, I ask that you pay it forward and join me in celebrating our strong, unshakeable team. We have six months of programming — and challenges, including raising $500K by June 30th — remaining in our fiscal year, and our team is facing it all with determination to provide only the best for our young people.

Send an email to info[at]movinginthespirit.org, leave a comment on this blog, or post on our social media with words of thanks and encouragement for their efforts.

They pour so much love into our students. Let’s do the same for them.

With love and gratitude,

Dana Marie Lupon
Co-Founder & Executive Director

Though 2016 was a difficult year for our team, we ended on a high note, ringing in the new year with our families at the wedding of team member Crystal Faison. Here’s to a bright, bold 2017!

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