November 21, 2023

A Thanksgiving Message from Commissioner Neifeld

A Thanksgiving Message from Commissioner Neifeld

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

There is so much to be thankful for this year. While our field faces many challenges, the most pressing of which is our ongoing workforce shortage, there are still many bright moments I think we should acknowledge.  There are countless people in our system working hard every day, both on the front lines and behind the scenes, to help people with developmental disabilities live fulfilling lives.  I continue to be in awe of the sheer dedication shown by our direct support staff both at OPWDD and within our provider agencies.

There’s no question that holidays can be particularly hard for those in direct care when the 24-7 nature of the work takes us away from our families at a time when it seems most everyone else is spending it with theirs. To those of you who work in our field, please know how much your steady presence means to people with developmental disabilities, their families, and all of us at OPWDD.  Without you, our mission could never be achieved. 

For me, holidays have always been a time to reflect not only on what we must give thanks for but also on what we have to look forward to. As I reflect on how thankful I am for all of you who make up our OPWDD family and help to keep our system strong through your advocacy and participation, I also look forward to our continued work together on achieving the goals we’ve outlined in our Strategic Plan.  I know the work we have underway with all of you will make us even stronger and better equipped to face the challenges of the future. This Thanksgiving, I am most thankful for your continued commitment. Working together, I know that we will make our system even stronger for the ones we love.

My best wishes to you and yours for a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.


Kerri Neifeld