The 2020 December Letters Project

This year, we faced some additional challenges in preparing for our annual December Letters Project, due to widespread school and business closings related to Covid that made it impossible for us to gather together for the project, but our OWLS came through from satellite locations to deliver cards and letters to help foster community and share love, solidarity, and fellowship.

We are grateful to all of our OWLs, past and present, in Canada, Australia, and the United States.

Some of our OWLS this year include:

Anna Tedesco Maria Santacroce

Denise Fletcher

Summer Javadi

Heather Davis

Molly Moessinger

Hanna Etu

Immacula Kercivil

Anna S.

Cindy Keck

Anne Ramsay-Piérard

Heidi Everett

Dr. Erin Kingsley

Christopher Ritchie

Linda Pellegrine Ritchie

Kristin Roche

The Pride Alliance at Charles D’ Amico High School in New York, United States

The teachers and students and Social Justice League of Casey Middle School, New York, United States

Members of Madwomen in the Attic, US & Abroad

Les Impatients, Montréal (Québec), Canada

Banyule City Council & Ivanhoe Library and Cultural Hub Arts & Cultural Program, Banyule, Australia

Best Self Behavioral Health, New York, United States

Students at King University, Tennessee, United States

Sincere thanks to all who participated in the project this year and in past years! Your participation helps to encourage others to think about and participate in changing and improving our mental healthcare system.

Here is a gallery of some images from the project this year:

  1. Banyule City Council’s December Letters Project

2. A letter written by a MITA member to be included in cards delivered to the Buffalo Psychiatric Center.

To Warmth From Winter

I don’t see you but I know you’re there. It’s cold outside. But your heart is warm. It’s beating is bright no matter what.

I’m here writing this to you, thinking about you. You matter to me. We don’t know each other but I am sending you thoughts of warm blankets, perfect coffee, old movies, and the scent of spices cooking in the kitchen.

The funny thing about cold. It never lasts.
The feeling against the skin.
The shiver that runs down the spine, attempting to shake the whole of our beings.
It cannot sustain. The sun comes out again.
The warmth returns.

I am in Florida. It’s not so cold here, but when it gets down to the upper 30s, you would think that we are all frozen solid! We are not used to the cold. We are unprepared. If an ice age happened, we might be the first to go if the climate were to change suddenly and our white sands were replaced with snow.

You could say we’re not cut out for the cold. But I think we just lack experience with it, that would thicken our skins. Those who live in colder climates develop a thick skin.

I suppose the amount of cold we can handle is dependent on how much cold we’ve had to handle before. Our bodies get accustomed to it. We don’t notice it anymore.

But think if one were to be used to the cold: so used to it, they don’t feel it anymore. Perhaps this person has gone numb. Or perhaps this person never got used to the cold. It was giving them frostbite that crept up to their very soul. They think they cannot take it anymore. Then one day, they are no longer in the cold. They have their warm blanket, perfect coffee, old movie, spices cooking in the kitchen, and a snuggle to warm their heart. How much would that person think of the old cold? Better yet, how much more would they rejoice in the warmth of now? Yes, I suppose that times of trouble, cold, and darkness, prepare us for the times of warmth, security, and light.

Round and round we go in this life. Never staying in one place. We go from hot to cold, then cold to hot again. I guess one cannot exist without the other. But I know. We all prefer to be warm.

I have seen those who have had no obstacles, mucking about life. They are never satisfied with warm weather. They want sunny. They are not satisfied with a cool breeze. They want to read their newspaper. But those who have emerged from an ice age? A deep, dark winter of loneliness? Those who just stepped out of a cave into the cafe that is life? Those people are alive. They feel the cool breeze and smile. They sense the warmth and it reminds them of how strong they really are. And those people, they can bring warmth to others in the cold.

Sending you hugs, warm blankets, and thoughts of spring, this winter.

– Heather

3. PowerPoint slides from a local teacher’s presentation to her school on the December Letters Project.

4. Cards MITA received for the project to share with our local institutions.

Our English honor society participated in the December Letters Project for the first time this year. It was the perfect project during Covid, and also the perfect way to spread a little light and joy with minimal cost and minimal time investment. We plan on growing this project in our school and in other schools in our region, and we also plan to reach out to invite other honor societies in social work and criminal justice. Thank you  for the fantastic idea!”

– Erin Kingsley, Associate Professor of English and Faculty Advisor for the Sigma Tau Delta Honor Society

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