Erin Elliott has been a part of the IJGA family for over 5 years. As our Director of Student Life, Erin is responsible for making sure each student is where he or she needs to be at every hour of the day, and she is the team captain of our student life staff that does so much for our kids.
As a kid, I grew up in Indiana (go Hoosiers!). In Indiana, we could always tell Christmas was coming by the colder temperatures and potential for snowfall. As a kid, I never could have imagined celebrating Christmas in the sunny south just minutes from the beach. But, now, as I look back on it all, I can’t imagine not being here in this time, in this place with each of our students and staff. I can’t imagine more joy than each of you give me. I can’t consider more hope than I see in each of you. My heart is full of your love and my world is at peace because of each and every one of you. As I prepare to return home for the holidays, how lucky I feel to have made a new home surrounded by so many beautiful people.
So, now, as I get ready to celebrate my 5th Christmas as part of the IJGA family, I can’t help but pause and reflect on all that is good and well. I love every season at IJGA for different reasons, but the winter holiday season always holds special. True to the spirit of things, it seems everyone takes measure to enjoy the friends, family and fellowship of our community. Cards and gifts will be exchanged. Songs will be sung (it’s tradition to have karaoke at our Holiday party). Donations will be made to local families in need. Hugs will be exchanged. And, for as excited many will be about returning home for the holiday, there will be anxiety about parting from IJGA family. That’s how important we all are to one another – that even a few weeks apart are hard to consider. I see it every year and every year I marvel at the wonder of how powerful and dynamic our community is – how brilliant each of you are. And as I look around in wonder I can’t help but smile at the beauty of it all – us, a community comprised of people from all over the world – coming together as one. In a world full of ever increasing strife and hardship, our students and their care for one another – give me incredible hope. In them shines the light of the season. In their future, there is reason to be merry and bright.
I thank you, sincerely, for being who you are and doing all that you do. And, parents, I thank you for sharing your children with us and allowing us to adventure with them as they grow into remarkable young adults.
Wherever you may go this holiday season, whatever you may be celebrating, may your time be merry and your heart full of good cheer. And may you know that you always have home here at IJGA.
From our home to yours – good tidings of joy!
Until next year,