Life at MIND: Our Attitude is Gratitude

One of my favorite authors, Dr. Maya Angelou, was known for her many talents. She was an incredible poet, a talented author, a singer, and a civil rights activist. She also penned one of my favorite quotes. She said, “This is a wonderful day. I've never seen this one before.”

I love this quote for the beautiful simplicity that it inspires, that each day can be filled with gratitude and wonder, in faith that good will come. It is joyful and full of quiet optimism—the kind that resonates in my heart. We can all use a little reminder of life's goodness sometimes.

This is a wonderful day. I've never seen this one before.

— Dr. Maya Angelou 

Recently, I had the pleasure of joining the motivation committee for November, alongside Maria, Aram, Yvonne, Kelsey, and Brian to plan Fall Spirit Week, part of the positive work culture at MIND. Our goal was to inspire and celebrate each other and the organization, while adding something unique to the workdays of our colleagues.

We planned something special for each day. Monday, we held an open call for recipe submissions to create a MIND cookbook. On Tuesday we took turns sharing our favorite holiday memory. On Wednesday and Thursday, we brought fierce competition to a Selfie Scavenger Hunt and Hair Apparent, a celebrity hair guessing game.

We also had a special request all week long. We asked our colleagues to share what they are thankful for by contributing to our gratitude tree.

What is a Gratitude Tree?

A gratitude tree is a way to appreciate the small things, celebrate what's going well, and toast to people that make your life better. And actually, the benefits of gratitude are rooted in science! There are a surplus of studies suggesting that gratitude can profoundly and positively impact all areas of your life, including an increase in happiness, health, and stronger personal relationships!

Beyond the fact that gratitude has numerous personal benefits and can increase your emotional intelligence, what warmed my heart was the way that my colleagues reacted.

Gratitude tree in progress

Everyone was invited to participate to share their gratitude. It is an incredibly busy time of year here at MIND, and I wasn't sure how many of my peers would have time to participate. 

The gratitude tree started as a barren, lonely thing, made from recycling boxes, Kraft paper rolls, and clear fishing line. The hope was that as our organizational gratitude bloomed with each contribution, so would our tree.

I was not prepared for what came next.


Our Attitude is Gratitude

What came next was a flurry of gratitude, kudos, and a kaleidoscope of fall colors as leaves sprouted up all over our gratitude tree. Our tree transformed into something wonderful. With a little love and care, came beauty. Messages of thanks to each other. Celebrations of personal joy. Happiness for the future and appreciation for the past.

I could tell you, but it might be easier to show you.







Thank You

An important part of gratitude is taking the time to say thanks, and appreciating the people that make a difference. So, thank you. 

Thank you to our amazing partners, like John Deere, Verizon, and Philips 66, who are a critical part of the work that we do and help bring ST Math to schools across the country. We also included leaves for you!


I'm thankful for MIND's incredible partners and ST Math champions—every administrator, teacher, parent, donor, and student who work hard to further our mission. We couldn't do this without you!

Thank you to my colleagues! The people in this organization are incredible. MIND Research Institute is filled with kind-hearted, intelligent individuals who truly believe in making a difference. My peers work hard to ensure that all students are mathematically equipped to solve the world's most challenging problems. They're always looking for ways to help each other and help the world.

In the spirit of Dr. Maya Angelou, I am confident that as we embark on each new day here at MIND, our future will be a wonderful one. Because we're in this together.

Curious about life at MIND Research Institute? Learn more.

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Jolene Haley

About the Author

Jolene Haley was the Content and Community Specialist at MIND Research Institute. In addition to creating content for MIND, she is an author, avid reader, and lover of iced coffee.


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