VSUW Blog – Jenny Holsman Tetreault – April, 2020
When life changes unexpectedly…make lemonade
The coronavirus pandemic changed our lives unexpectedly. We were suddenly a family of four (including Colin, my husband, six-year-old Connor, 3-year-old Madeline and me!) working together, learning together, spending every moment together…
This resulted in some immediate changes to our life. We had to adjust and adapt in a way that we had not anticipated. And, we had to do so quickly. What was initially an “uh-oh…how are we going to do this” moment, became an entirely new way of living. Instead of identifying this time as challenging, tough, painful, or any other negative word…we have agreed to embrace this experience as a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity. In other words, we have attempted to turn this unprecedented time into a positive one for each other, for our children, for our family, and for our community.
In thinking about our time in quarantine, we have realized a new reality for our family….and are looking forward to what the future holds for us. Below are several ways that we have handled our new normal:
During this time in isolation, I have seen firsthand the critical role that the United Way can play around the world. To that end, I have been inspired by the role that the Valley of the Sun United Way in partnership with Arizona Community Foundation, has played in serving as both a leader and a convener within the non-profit and corporate sectors. After raising over $2.1 million dollars over the last few weeks, the Valley of the Sun United Way has granted $859,882 to over 47 non-profit organizations needing critical support during this time. These grants are intended to provide resources needed to ensure that mission oriented, programmatic, and critical services are delivered to those that are most in need.
My involvement with the Valley of the Sun United Way has also changed during this “stay-at-home” time. I have recorded video messages to support the Sun Devils Unite effort, written thank you notes to long-term donors to the organization, co-hosted update sessions with our Tocqueville Society members, attended policy discussions with elected officials on housing and homelessness efforts, joined calls with non-profit leaders to discuss how Valley of the Sun United Way can support them during this time, have had an update and virtual happy hour with the Women United Steering Committee, and much more. Perhaps equally important, the Board of Directors has continued to meet and we are both prepared to handle the “now” and are planning for our “future.” I am truly honored to serve the Valley of the Sun United Way during this time and in partnership with our CEO, Carla Vargas Jasa.
Beyond the response to COVID-19, the Valley of the Sun United Way has remained focused on our future. With our 95-year history, we are grounded in our past, but are continually inspired by the role that the Valley of the Sun United Way will play moving forward. With unique and creative partnerships like Arizona Community Foundation being forged, policy work being initiated and supported, critical investments being made, and our strategic priorities being defined, we are confident that the Valley of the Sun United Way will remain a point of pride for our community.
Just as our family has done, the Valley of the Sun United Way has looked both internally and externally to find inspiration during this time. Our family has made personal changes to live both “better” and “stronger” after the pandemic passes. Similarly, the Valley of the Sun United Way has been inspired. We look forward to leading, convening, collaborating, partnering, learning, listening, loving…and providing hope during our “new” reality.
Until we are able to connect in person, stay healthy, safe, and take time to embrace our new reality. The world has changed and both the Valley of the Sun United Way and the Tetreault family are ready. #LIVEUNITED #UNITEPHX