Gratitude Bonuses for the Embark Frontline at Programs

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    I want to thank all our team members, in every role, across the country for their diligence and hard work during these stressful and uncertain times.

    This coronavirus is awful. And we can’t forget that before the coronavirus, we had a significant youth mental health crisis in our country. And it’s still here. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for teens and young adults in our country. This mental health crisis has been recently exacerbated by the isolation, lack of access to care and unemployment.

    We are especially appreciative of our teammates at our programs, who, due to the nature of our profession, are unable to work remotely. They continue to come to our programs every day and night. Our programs are Essential, and the work on the frontline at every single one of our programs is Essential. These dedicated individuals are Essential. They have remained present for the struggling families and students we serve, which is a challenging role even under the best of circumstances.

    The hundreds of program-level workers at Embark are big-hearted and well-trained and are following substantially increased guidelines while caring for and loving our clients. These are our brave frontline admissions and administrative teams, caregivers, coaches and mentors, clinicians, doctors and nurses, culinary and maintenance teams, and our therapeutic professionals – all of whom need to show up around the clock. Creating Joy and Healing Generations is a 24/7 Core Purpose, and the quality work they do is critically important – now more than ever.

    At the foundation of joy is a heart of gratitude, selflessness and service. With that in mind, on behalf of the Embark Support Team and Program Executive Directors, we’d like to give a gratitude bonus to all teammates working on the ground at our programs. To these selfless individuals, we want to provide what appreciation, love and peace of mind we can.

    The Gratitude Bonus will be payable on April 7th and then again on April 22nd. Individuals working onsite at programs will receive a Gratitude Bonus of up to $100 a week, based on total hours worked on-site.

    As we discussed this decision, the only debate was what to call it. Everything from “Appreciation Bonus” and “Frontline Bonus,” to “Hero Bonus” and “Red Wall Bonus,” was suggested. This bonus is all of that.

    The payments are in recognition of the work these individuals do to heal, love, nurture and protect hundreds of struggling teens and young adults, especially during this critical and uncertain time. The job is not easy, but our frontline team members have shown themselves to be all-in all the time. They aren’t just ‘hands and feet’, they are ‘hearts and minds’ as well, and we are grateful for them.

    Ten years from now, the hope is that all of us will look back and talk to our family and friends about the coronavirus pandemic and how we persevered through it and showed up for the hurting and vulnerable, not in spite of but because of the fear and uncertainty around us. We will talk about how we rose to the occasion and brought out the best in ourselves and each other.

    We are honored to support you and hope this expression of gratitude translates into more compassion and love for the families we serve every day. They need us right now. And we need you.

    With joy,

    Alex Stavros

    About the Author

    Alex Stavros

    Alex Stavros is the Chief Executive Officer at Embark Behavioral Health in Chandler, Arizona. He guides the organization with a wealth of insight and knowledge gained from a lifetime spent serving – as the son of missionaries – and focusing on leading purpose-driven businesses as a force for good. Stavros’ history of leadership includes time spent at Cambridge Associates, the world’s largest global investment advisory firm to not-for-profit organizations, as well as time at the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and on Capitol Hill in Washington DC. He also servers on the Board of Peruvian Partners, a nonprofit established to connect North Americans with Peruvian families that live in abject poverty. He enjoys spending his spare time with his wife, Maria-Paz, and their two beautiful children.