The Timeless Gift of Hope

A Message from Maria Coutant Skinner, President & CEO

February 29, 2024
Maria Coutant Skinner

Dear friends;

My friend Nina Russell, our intrepid CFO for the last 27 years, is set to retire next month. This weighty moment is one of several recent events that have brought to mind the tricky duality of time.  It is Leap Day as I write this column and the fact that I’m sitting down to begin to try to capture a complex set of thoughts and emotions in the final hours of the final day of the month will come as no surprise to any of you who know me. You see, my friends, I’ve long had a rocky relationship with time. There is never enough of it when it comes to all that must be done, and all life has to offer, and I hate to miss a moment.

When people take the courageous step of crossing the threshold of a McCall program, they often share about the time lost during the chapters of their lives spent actively wrestling with an addiction and/or mental health struggle. They work through the shame and blame associated with ‘wasting’ time in those dark and painful periods where they couldn’t access their highest and best selves for their families and loved ones. It’s a deep reckoning that takes place to balance responsibility and forgiveness and find peace, knowing that our healing journeys are lifelong.

We are now at the close of Black History Month, a time where we celebrate the remarkable contributions of Black Americans and offer accountability for the atrocities committed against them. Time has not healed the wounds inflicted; it doesn’t work that way. Educated, intentional efforts must be made to have an informed citizenry and the critical steps of reparations in all forms taken. We can mark progress made while honestly assessing the work yet to be done. We must make haste to commit to this healing work.

Time can lull us into complacency when we believe it is abundant. The day to day often seems just that – routines of good mornings, meetings and good nights with conversations, laughs and tears mixed in.  Nina and I have worked side by side for more than a decade as we’ve navigated the challenges and triumphs of leading an organization that we both love and believe in deeply. A special bond is forged when you have the privilege to do that work; especially when your counterpart is a person who is as special and committed as Nina. Endings allow us to reflect and appreciate the sum of those days, appreciating the growth, healing and evolution each of us have experienced as we’ve served a higher purpose together.

I’m thinking time will remain a challenge for me; I realize that I exist in that tricky dual space of competing priorities. It all feels wonderful and horrible and urgent and too slow – all at once. One of my very favorite books is Madeline L ’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time”.  It gives me hope that it is never too late and that tesseracts exist. With that, we can triumph over darkness, access the courage and hope for healing and maybe stretch out time just a bit to make the sweet moments last.

Nina Russell, BS

Chief Financial Officer

All my best for all time,

Maria Coutant Skinner

President & CEO