Thank you...quite simply thank you!

Thank you...quite simply thank you!

Yesterday I dropped off a card filled with money and a gift card from my family to a teenage girl. We found her on twitter through the North Central Community Association. She was so thankful that she burst into tears. What girl from a poor family ever has that much money to spend? I talked to her for a little while. I could sense that she had been through things in her short life that made her wise beyond her years. She wants to be a social worker because mainly she is at risk and has people believing in her. She wants to give the same back.

It made me think back to my own history and what I have overcome. I told her how in everyone's life there are roadblocks and hills to climb. I told her about my life, how it should be that I could never achieve what I have. How today I look at those mountains in my way with enthusiasm. How challenges are opportunities waiting to happen if you seize them.

It got me to thinking how this year began for our organization. I would be lying if I said we weren't stuck at the bottom of a mountain, doing the same things and not all on the same page. I am a person that needs a challenge to stay excited and engaged. We needed to shake things up. In March we committed to a 5 year Strategic Plan. I think we were all surprised that there was commonality in our thinking. By April we were heavy into planning and created three committees to implement our Strat Plan.

We worked ourselves hard, so much so that May 2013 seems years ago. We took risks, throwing spagetti at the wall to see what would stick. We brought in lots of food trucks, changed our hours, stayed later if the customers wanted us to, started twitter and Instagram, did Markets at night, did job interviews with new applicants, marketed instead of advertized, did Markets at the U of R. The Board developed new ways of engaging their employees, myself and Dee Kitsch the Assistant Manager. It was our year and we were climbing that mountain.

Dee and I were talking about this two nights ago, how we stood on the Plaza in early June with our mouths hanging open. We were incredulous at the number of people on our street and the sales our vendors were getting. This year was so full of incredible moments. Night Market with 20,000 people? 71 vendors on the street? Two Markets a week during winter? It was unimaginable last year.

I look at the vendors, they are happier. I look at Dee and see her new confidence in photography and design. She has grown so much in spirit and talent. The Board has engaged us in such a way that we are our best selves and our stars can shine.

We owe a thank you to so many for our success that this article would continue into perpetuity. I believe our twitter friends have much to do with our winning year. Yesterday there were no words for this teenage girl to say to me when given a gift, except for thank you. So perfect and eloquent with pretty tears in her eyes. So I say, quite simply...thank you. Thank you for all you have given to us. Until next year. Ada