Inspiring Hope ~ Jon Holland, Interim CEO Tamassee DAR School

May. 1, 2020

I told my four children recently that the COVID-19 pandemic will be the defining event of their generation. Like my grandparents talking about World War II, my parents remembering President Kennedy’s assassination, and my wife and I describe the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the pandemic will be the story my children tell their grandchildren.

These are incredibly challenging times for our nation. My heart goes out to the many infected by this virus, those who have lost loved ones, our front line medical staff, those who have lost jobs, those without sufficient food and funds, and those who are simply lonely. I am also inspired by the amazing courage and goodness we see in our communities. Those doctors and nurses, hospital janitors and cafeteria workers, teachers and school officials, grocery store workers and delivery drivers, and many more who risk their safety for the common good. I think of the Daughters of the American Revolution across our country who have made tens of thousands of face coverings, and our students at Tamassee DAR School who have written thank you cards to the medical professionals and first responders caring for the sick in our community.

Thankfully, as of this writing, all of Tamassee’s students and staff are healthy. Of course, we have implemented social distancing, twice daily temperature checks, stringent cleaning policies, work-at-home and staggered schedules, and contingency plans for illness. We are doing all we can to keep the children and staff safe. I pray as you read this message you and yours are healthy as well.

The COVID-19 pandemic is not the only challenge our beloved Tamassee faces. Significant changes in the child welfare system in South Carolina and our nation have greatly impacted our programs. In recent months, Tamassee has worked with Cansler Collaborative Resources, a consulting firm that specializes in child welfare agencies, to identify the best path forward. Recently, Tamassee shared important decisions our Board of Trustees has made based on the staff and Board’s work with the consultants. Over the course of 2020, Tamassee will sunset its residential program, and the work force development program for students aging out of foster care has been placed on hold. At the same time, we are expanding and strengthening our early childhood learning program at the Pennsylvania Children’s Center, and we are launching a new afterschool program in August. You can read more about these exciting new opportunities on our website at www.tdarschool.org or by visiting our Facebook page.

Now more than ever, Tamassee needs the support of faithful and generous friends like you.  As volunteers in the afterschool program, instructors in enrichment programs such as dance, music, arts and crafts, industrial arts and much more, readers for the little people in our Early Childhood Learning Center, or through your financial support, we need your involvement and welcome your talents and gifts to our mission and goals.  Though these are challenging times, together we can rise to the occasion and care for the students who still call Tamassee home, launch effective new programs to impact children’s lives, and overcome the virus impacting our nation and world. If this is indeed a defining moment in our national history, then may we – like those great Americans who have gone before us – rise up, band together, and triumph once more.