Annual Impact Report: 2019

2019 Annual Impact Report front cover

Click to read our 2019 Annual Impact Report (you will be leaving our website).

A letter from our Executive Director

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Earth is the school of love. Hawthorne Valley’s vision to reconnect people, place, and purpose creates a vibrant learning community within this school. We have much to discover through experiencing these integrated relationships, and our learning begins when we take time to connect to our place and to be present with each other. Through our deepening awareness and loving attention, we can embrace our interdependence and work together in service for the sake of the whole.

Service is a hallmark of Hawthorne Valley. The farmers live in service as they rise before the sun to bring in the cows for milking, enhance soil fertility, and grow our food. The teachers who bring Waldorf pedagogy to life in order to nourish the souls of our children, and the parents who make sacrifices to make Waldorf education available, are in service to the future. And the dedication of a community of volunteers, Trustees, and donors helps co-create a generative social field of relationships and form an economy rooted in caring and love, illuminating Rudolf Steiner’s fundamental social law that when our work is done in service to others, our own needs will be met.

In 2019, Hawthorne Valley launched Place Corps, an experiential gap year program. The mission of Place Corps is to cultivate a calling to know, love, and serve our places. This builds on Hawthorne Valley’s nearly 50-year legacy of connecting people to place, to each other, and to their own sense of purpose through hands-on, will-centered learning. Place Corps adds to Hawthorne Valley’s already diverse set of interconnected initiatives that collectively create a holistic ecosystem approach to addressing the needs of our time. Though perhaps unconventional, our model aims to create long-term organizational sustainability by honoring, and mirroring, the complex natural relationships that sustain life on our planet.

This reconnecting, or re-membering, remains the heart of Hawthorne Valley’s mission and has never felt more imperative. Our current political, economic, and environmental crises accentuate an underlying anxiety of so many people feeling dis-placed, uprooted from culture with no grounding in meaning or context. More than ever, we need to exercise the social skills of empathy and compassion. We need to access the healing power of the natural world. We need to experience Earth as the school of love.

Each morning as my granddaughter and I walk to the valley—her to her classroom at Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School, and I to my office across the street—we are reawakened to the miracle of life on this earth. I feel so very privileged to show up to this place that puts stewardship of the land and care for our children at the heart of its mission, and I am forever grateful to the community of supporters who make our work to renew soil, society, and self by integrating agriculture, education, and art possible.

I’m excited to share the work this year with you, and thank you for your support. May we continue to work and learn together in service to the earth, to each other, and to our own sense of becoming.

With love and gratitude,

Martin Ping
Executive Director