It wasn’t until I was working in the addiction/recovery field that I came to really value gratitude lists.

I was taught by recovering people who had lived very hard lives. Sometimes the bright spots were hard-fought, like being grateful for being clean and sober for one day or one week, or being grateful for the gradual restoration of a relationship with a loved one.

Now I’m looking back on 26 years of working on poverty issues, and of course, the first name on the gratitude list is Ruby Payne. When she asked Terie Dreussi-Smith and me to help write a book on poverty for communities, it changed my life.

I’m grateful for the staff at aha! Process and the other authors and consultants; what a learning community! And what good friends.

When I take the long view over this quarter century, what comes to mind and to my eyes are you: the people in hundreds of communities that I met who use our work in unimagined and brilliant ways. I’m grateful to you for your innovations that engaged and supported people in your community who lived in poverty. And I’m grateful for you Getting Ahead graduates who have brought reality, energy, and new solutions to Bridges initiatives. I’m grateful for you who give back to your communities.

Our country and our world are going through difficult and divided times. I’m grateful to you for building healthy and positive relationships across all the lines that are sometimes used to divide us. I’m grateful for the hope you give me and the hope you offer your communities.