top of page

Sabbatical for Tanya!

While sabbaticals are the norm in academic and religious settings, they are still rare in the nonprofit world. Perhaps this is because it can seem like taking time away from humanitarian or charity work would be the same as turning your back on those in need. But there has been more talk lately about how sabbatical programs provide valuable respite and rejuvenation for nonprofit and caring professionals, helping to avoid burnout, and also allowing for creative shakeup of the status quo in an office. After 17 years with Spirit in Action, I’m taking a three-month sabbatical, from June 1 to September 2, where I will be entirely away from SIA-related work.

woman with a cat on her shoulders at a desk
Tanya at her SIA desk in 2009, with a collection of international stamps on the wall

Away from a screen

SIA is all about human connection, but much of my work occurs in front of a computer screen. I use Zoom to connect with Elizabeth Stanley, our wonderful Administrator and Operations Manager, and the African Advisory Board, North American Board, and Grant Partners in Eastern Africa. The Grant Partners also have an active WhatsApp chat where we share ideas, successes, and encouragement. And, of course, lots of emails!


One goal for the next three months is to get away from the screen as much as possible. To facilitate that, I’ll be camping with my family in Yosemite Valley for a week, attending Journey Farthest Out prayer retreats for two weeks (in Lassen, CA and New Hampshire), volunteering on an organic farm in Ontario, and walking and biking around my city of Toronto.


Elizabeth will step in as Interim Director during my sabbatical, and I am confident that she and the SIA Boards will keep everything running smoothly. Elizabeth will be monitoring my email while I’m away, and you can also reach her directly at


Reading List for Resting

In preparation for this time away, I’ve collected four books to prepare and inspire me.

1. Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives by Wayne Muller reminded me how even a short break from the norm can help me refresh, ground, and connect with loved ones.


2. Joyful Militancy: Building Thriving Resistance in Toxic Times by Nick Montgomery and carla bergman is about finding joy, rather than rigidity and fear, in activism work.


3. The Other Significant Other: Reimagining Life with Friendship at the Center by Rhaina Cohen ponders the many valuable relationships in our lives beyond just family members and romantic partners.


4. Rest is Resistance: A Manifesto by Tricia Hersey, creator of the Nap Ministry, declares the value and necessity of rest.


Thank you to the SIA North American Board, African Advisory Board, and Elizabeth for supporting this sabbatical and for keeping things flowing while I’m away. I look forward to reconnecting with all of you in September!

mountains and trees
A view of Yosemite Valley is the desktop photo on my computer screen

38 views0 comments


bottom of page