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There are only a few days left in 2009. It has been a challenging year, both for nonprofit organizations and the communities they seek to serve.

But as the year draws to a close, our overarching sentiment here at ASF isn’t one of futility or frustration. It’s one of awe.

Awe at the commitment and dedication of this year’s Schweitzer Fellows, who are impacting the health outcomes of society’s most vulnerable members through innovative service projects like this and this.

Awe at the strength of community members like Rosemary, who remain vibrant and optimistic in the face of individual and systemic challenges.

Awe at the generosity of the mentors — both from academia, and from community-based organizations — who provide invaluable guidance to Schweitzer Fellows as they carry out their service projects.

Awe at the Schweitzer Fellows for Life network’s collective power, and individual achievements.

Awe at the dedication of the Schweitzer Program Directors, who have found their own Lambarenes by helping others do the same.

And finally, awe at the breathtaking generosity of the funders, sponsors, and partners who make all of the above possible.

From all of us at ASF, thank you, and warm wishes for a peaceful holiday season.

Beyond Boulders will be on break until Wednesday, Dec. 30.