By Christine Goss, Associate Executive Director SCCOC

As we enter November, not a day will go by without seeing something talking about gratitude, blessings and thankfulness.  It is just that time of year.  Advertisements, table settings and wall decor will remind us that we need to be thankful for the blessings we have received.  

But what if you don’t see those blessings? What if your life is full of challenges, barriers and obstacles to your happiness and success so much so that each of the reminders to “be grateful” feels like a direct slap in the face?  It’s in those moments that we have to dig deep and find gratitude.

For as long as I can remember, acknowledging the things that I am grateful for has been a fundamental part of who I am as an individual, within my family and as part of a larger social community.  When I became a parent, I wanted my children to learn how to recognize and express gratitude for the big and small things in their lives.  Every night at dinner, we talked about our “roses and thorns.”  Each member of the family went around the table and shared their “rose” (the best thing about the day) and their “thorn” (the hardest, saddest, most upsetting thing).  Through this activity, we taught our daughter to recognize that her life had good things to focus on and be thankful for, even on what may have felt like the worst possible day from her eight-year-old perspective. 

Even with all the focus on gratefulness I have had in my life, over the course of the past few years I have faced much personal turmoil, and there were many days that I struggled to feel blessed or thankful.  While I am not going to get into the details here, I will share that I am confident that without those struggles I would not be where I am today.

Professionally, I now have the gift of serving as the Associate Executive Director of Schenectady College and Career Outreach Center (SCCOC).  I am certain that without the challenges of the past two years, I would not have left my previous position which opened the door to joining SCCOC, and I am incredibly grateful.

Each day at SCCOC, I encounter individuals who display such incredible bravery by walking into the Outreach Center and recognizing that they need support to achieve their goals and improve their lives; for each of them I am incredibly grateful.

As part of my role at SCCOC, I have the opportunity to talk with potential employers, to meet with community partners, to speak with organization leadership about how we can work collaboratively to mitigate the barriers that the underserved populations that we strive to help face, and for every phone call and meeting I am incredibly grateful.

I work day in and out with a very small (but mighty) team of four people who are committed to the mission of SCCOC to provide preparation, referral and advisement services to NYS residents ages 16 and older, who are looking to connect to pathways of education, employment and career and technical training opportunities, and for Jaimee, Milo and Nneka I am incredibly grateful.  

If you are struggling with finding gratitude due to life challenges that have stopped you from achieving your educational and employment goals, we invite you to stop by SCCOC and trust that, together, we can develop a plan that sets you on your pathway to success.

The Schenectady College & Career Outreach Center is located at 433 State Street, Schenectady, NY, 12305. | (518) 631-2257 | | “Like” us on Facebook! @SUNYsccoc