In July, I began a new chapter in my life, making the trek across the Ohio River after spending my first 50 years in New England. I was drawn here by what I learned about this community and by the inspiring work being done by the YMCA of Central Ohio. What I have found since my arrival is a collection of remarkable stories that reflect the impact of people caring about how things turn out for each other and growing in community together. I’m convinced that what has already happened and what will happen here needs to be shared and celebrated. This blog is my attempt to do just that through a collection of stories and reflections from my journey here in Central Ohio.
Living in the far South Side for now, I have a reason daily to pass through the South Side neighborhoods. Drawn by what I’ve heard about this region, I spent a Sunday exploring Parson’s street on my bicycle. Along the way, I happened upon the Reeb School and became even more intrigued by all I’d been hearing about the community effort to revitalize that facility and the surrounding neighborhoods. Little did I know then, I would soon witness one of the most powerful and profound dedication ceremonies I’ve ever seen.
The night before the ceremony, the woman I found to cut my hair (a critical milestone in getting comfortable in a new community) told me about the money she recently received to put new windows in her home on the South Side. As I stood among the hundreds gathered to celebrate the opening of the Reeb School, I heard about the powerful image of people with little hope and the effort of private citizens, our local and state government, and a collection of terrific non-profit organizations to create a hub of hope. This is truly a collaboration of community leaders coming together to better the lives of others. I was blown away by the experience and knew for certain that the circumstances of my life had organized themselves in just the right way to place me there at that moment and to make it possible for me to be here in Columbus.
Strengthening community happens best when we are all involved and citizenship is the norm. I look forward to serving that cause here at the YMCA of Central Ohio and can’t wait to see what inspiration lies ahead.
Photo from the Reeb School opening