~ Wendell Berry
Oh, what a year. This is a time when there is so much at stake – and so much to inspire awe and gratitude. Prairie Oaks Institute, like so many people you love and organizations you support, is in such a time as well. We wish we could provide a regular slate of in-person programs, and open our retreat facilities to mixed groups. But with COVID, for now we just can’t. Knowing that we really are all in this together, we’re asking for your help to stay true to who we are and why we’re here while imagining our way forward with courage and trust. What can we envision together, and how can we embrace new possibilities?
In connection with this year’s Give to the Max Day, we invite your support for these key ways of keeping POI alive and able to meet the challenges of this time, with an eye toward a vibrant future:
- Online programs to sustain the human spirit and energize capacity to make a positive difference in the world: for example, Courage and Renewal® retreat series that welcome people from all across the country and around the world to deepen their capacities to live, work, and lead with greater authenticity and resilience (“The Winding Way: Courage for the Weary Soul” this fall, and “Healing the Heart of Democracy” coming this winter and spring), and the Lexicon of Sustainability art exhibit.
- Significantly expanding public access to our beautiful and life-giving outdoor spaces, including ongoing prairie restoration and work to establish a new trail system with an outdoor labyrinth – spaces where people can safely enjoy the solace and healing power of POI’s distinctive oak-savannah landscapes.
- Crucial facilities work, urgently including the replacement of the Farmhouse roof, so that when the day comes when in-person programming can resume we’ll be ready.
We also want to emphasize that outdoor (socially distanced) access to POI trails and grounds is still available, and our retreat & meeting facilities (the Farmhouse and the upper level of Harvest House) are open for individuals, couples, and for groups from the same organization or family who feel safe being together in the same space. We commit to deep cleaning and sanitizing before and after each stay, and to keeping the space unoccupied for several days between stays.
Even in these times of physical distancing and so many other forms of separation, it really is all about relationships. On that count, and so many others, there is so much to celebrate! It’s simply the truth that POI is needed, perhaps now more than ever, and we couldn’t have done any of it without the relationships that are at the heart of who we are. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts. Thank you for all the ways you’ve helped us to live into our mission over the years “to be catalyst of rejuvenation for people and planet,” and for your support now. Please give what you can! We are truly grateful.