When the pandemic began, ISS-USA and our colleagues around the world quickly adapted to an all-digital, at-home work environment. We were able to ensure that states and ISS partners could continue to move in the direction of family reunification using our rapidly deployed remote home assessment tools. U.S. citizens returning to the U.S. overcame lockdowns, travel restrictions, limited flights, and changing itineraries in order to gain access to shelter, food, and transportation thanks to responsive return plans organized by the ISS crew in Baltimore. Our International Council meeting originally scheduled to take place in Nairobi was held in the great land of ZOOM, as was our ISS-USA internal 9 month strategic planning process.
Remote and resilient.
We encouraged each other during long days and nights while supporting HHS/OHSEPR during multiple evacuations from Wuhan, Myanmar and Afghanistan. We kept in touch bi-weekly with our colleagues around the globe by sharing the situations in our respective countries. We received critical funding when the prospect of meeting our budget looked grim. We conducted successful online fundraising campaigns. We implemented a new paid holiday in honor of Juneteenth. We talked openly about racism, fairness and how to move forward when we could not catch a break from the never-ending bad news cycle. We focused on our mission and remained hopeful, together. It was the “WE” that helped us to be resolved and resilient.
Remote, resilient and reunited.
Despite the challenges, we reunited more children with their families in 2021, served a record number of people in the U.S. Repatriation Program and laid the groundwork for a pathway to equity in permanency for cross border families. We wrapped up 2021 with a joyous face to face meeting of the ISS-USA team, a reminder that familial connections are important not only to those we serve, but to all of us who are part of the ISS family. Thanks to all who support ISS-USA! Julie Rosicky, CEO Allison Blake, Chair, Board of Directors