I ran into an acquaintance earlier today who asked, 'So, where have you been hiding?!' I wanted to scream out 'You have got to be kidding?!'
But I also know that there are scores of people who don't know about the work we do here at CitySquare, so we for them it may seem that we fly under the radar.
Let's just say 2010 has been eventful...
We started off the year with the move of our administrative offices, public interest law firm, HR, finance, IT and Community Development Department into 511 Akard. As soon as we moved in, we realized not only did we bring work with us, new work was waiting for us!
Along with everyone getting set up, there was a flurry of tours, taking place while renovation was continuing, apartments to be leased - solidifying our relationship and roles with the management company, security issues and parking issues.
We worried that neighbors who needed CitySquare LAW would have a difficult time finding us.
Boy were we ever WRONG. The year-to-date total of cases closed by October of 198 nearly equalled the total number of cases closed for all of 2009!
Our food pantry has served more than 47,000 people nearly 2 million pounds of food, as of the third quarter.
The summer program served 701,000 to 16,000 children in collaboration with Pepsico, in an innovative program called Food on the Move, in addition to the 50,000 kids served by our Nurture Knowledge & Nutrition (NKN).
Our Permanent Supportive Housing Program Destination Home has now gotten more than 100 homeless citizens off of the street and into their own apartment. The program will expand in 2011.
WorkPaths, our job training program, has graduated more than 75 people from soft skills and hard skills living wage employment training. More than 70% of the program participants going on to living wage employment.
Our Education Outreach has expanded its reach to provide technology based enrichment to not only traditional age after school students, but now includes programming for mid-teens and youth preparing for college.
And this year, in formalizing our public policy work, we've made our monthly Urban Engagement Book Club a tool for advocacy and public awareness. We've sponsored two documentary screenings, focused on public education and immigration (Waiting for Superman and 9500 Liberty, respectively). We've also had public awareness education initiatives, both within the organization and the community around for profit schools. We've led voter education, voter registration and GOTV efforts in our community of focus, Roseland Homes...including getting gubenatorial candidate Bill White to come visit with the residents there.
All of this, while at the same time, we continued preparations for our Opportunity Center, which will house our employment, health care, food programs and economic development initiatives, along with the rebranding of our organization.
We've done more and program directors around here might be upset because I'm not including some other great things that have happened across this organization. But believe me, I've only scratched the surface!
What does all this mean (aside from the fact that there are some tired soldiers at CitySquare)? It means that CitySquare is a great investment for those who believe that as community, we can actually do something about poverty and injustice. It means that money invested in CitySquare changes the trajectory of the lives of people and gives hope to those who simply need the resources and the relationships that will make their lives better.
It means its been a great year!