We had such fun at our kitchen one afternoon this fall, playing around with balloons and laughing. We wanted to capture the joy of the season and share it with you. We hope our joy is contagious.

Yet even as we celebrate the season, we recognize that the holidays come during the darkest time of the year. Days are short, nights cold, shadows long. We firmly believe that light will always prevail, but darkness is real and needs to be acknowledged.

Take Vivian, for instance (far right, in red), who is a former trainee and now our administrative assistant. She was spending a quiet evening at home in Iraq ten years ago when a bomb fell on her house, instantly killing her family and burying her under 20 feet of rubble. She was trapped in darkness for days, her skull shattered. Twelve surgeries later, her face is healed. Like Vivian, every one of the trainees in these photos has undergone an unspeakable ordeal. But take a close look at the joy in these pictures and join us in marveling at the ways that light shines in darkness.

Another case in point. Recent events force us to acknowledge that our country is changing. We’re becoming less hospitable, less appreciative, less open-hearted, and—this shouldn’t surprise anyone—more afraid. In a land of plenty, where most of us are the descendants of people fleeing persecution, we’re resisting helping people like Vivian. We have already severely restricted the numbers of refugees allowed into the country and are now systematically dismantling the services to help them.

But once again, look at our faces. Joy is no less real. Celebration is our secret weapon. We celebrate the daily experience of seeing first-hand the resilience of refugees and the gifts they bring to our community. We celebrate a mission that is needed now more than ever. We celebrate a model of job training that is increasingly relevant. And we celebrate you, a growing team of partners who love and support what we are doing.

If you haven’t had a chance yet, it’s not too late to celebrate with us by investing in the resilience and well-being of the refugee community and in the growth of a company that is using a product as simple as granola (and now craft-roasted coffee) to change lives. You made it possible for us to hire Vivian so she can continue to develop her skills, support herself, and rebuild her life. Your (tax-deductible) donation will help us continue our work during a time when other services for refugees are being cut. Donate online (one-time or monthly), sign up for #teamgranola on our website, or send a check by snail mail to Beautiful Day at 10 Davol Square, Unit 100, Providence, RI 02903. Rejoice!

Written by Keith Cooper

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