Sunday, November 9, 2014
2014 Gratitude Festival Day #7: YouthCity at Sorenson Unity
Today marks the completion if the first week of the new YouthCity at Sorenson Unity After School Program. Grateful for the space to create a new learning environment for some much deserving kiddos. Grateful for the funding that affords kick balls, skate boards, paint and brushes, glue sticks, field trips, computers and vans so these kiddos can get sweaty and dirty and messy all in the name if experiential learning. Grateful for the willingness and trust demonstrated by my new staff as we leap head long into another one of my crazy ideas....this dream team consists of former YC parents, former YC kiddos, and seasoned leaders from within the Glendale neighborhood...how did I get so lucky? Grateful for my YouthCity colleagues....these men...and these women... are excellent educators... exceptional people...and my best friends. Grateful for a boss and mentor who, even when knowing the good, bad and ugly that orbits around me...invited me back into the fold. Grateful for my new partners and neighbors at the Unity Center whose patience, acceptance, and professionalism have made us feel welcomed and supported. Grateful for the support of overworked yet dedicated teachers and school principals who have shared excitement for this new program and have encouraged their kids to attend. Grateful for the grant writers, city councilmen and woman, and forward thinking city leadership for securing funds for this fifth YouthCity site....this herculean project only took ten years of data collection, ten years of needs assessing and ten years of compelling politicking to secure....TEN YEARS! Grateful for the 14 kiddos who have walked through our doors this week and who, with bright eyes and in a hopeful tone, asked, "Is this for real?" And "Can I come....everyday?" Grateful we made it to Friday. Grateful there are more checked boxes on my to do list than tasks (that is for now, anyway). Grateful for my education...both the formal study and the lessons offered up through past programs, experiences, and parents. Grateful for the collection of once children who are now adults...this cohort...these young people... have without knowing it helped me forge the raw day to day into a semi-refined teaching practice. So so so grateful that I get to do the thing I love the most...in the city I love most...with the people I would always choose first to work with. Grateful to work in the field of education and to have had the chance to spread my wings a bit over the last five tears...and to have found....okay, realized...that my secret sauce is actually hanging with kiddos everyday after school. Grateful to know....and I mean really get that I'll exchange travel and fancy conferences and meetings in impressive boardrooms with national experts for carpool and dodgeball and backpacks and "meeting on the carpet" any day. Grateful to be able to do what I love...in the city I love....with the people I love. Grateful that this work feels less like work and more like meaningful fun. Grateful that I don't get the pit in my stomach on Sunday night when I think about the upcoming week...this has not always been the case and the ability to realize these things...like to my core...makes all the difference. It's not lost in me how blessed I am to be working at YouthCity again. So so grateful.