First of all, where did the time go? It is hard to believe that eight weeks ago we were only imagining what our summer fellowships would look like! As fellows, I think we have had a unique opportunity to be able to look at our organizations from various points of view. We started out as “outsiders,” trying to learn a new organization and how we fit. But now, as integrated members of our organizations we get a whole new perspective. I feel as if each week I learned something new and exciting about Central Ohio Youth for Christ. Getting to work on their new website (which goes live in Septemeber!) gave me the ability to really dive in and research every aspect of their ministry. From helping teen moms get their GEDs to teaching youth how to repair cars it seems like there is never a dull moment at COFYC! But, even though they seem to be involved in so many aspects of Central Ohio youth, what amazes me is that they are always looking for new ideas and opportunities to be a part of.
One amazing new opportunity that has come up this summer is a partnership between COYFC and The Arts and College Preparatory Academy to form ACPA West High School in the Franklinton neighborhood of Columbus. For years, COFYC has owned an old school building with the dream of one day being able to utilize its potential. This summer, that dream is one step closer to becoming a reality. Both organizations are committed to reaching out to teenagers in at risk communities. ACPA is an award winning Charter School and most of the students graduate and go on to college. COYFC’s mission is to reach teenagers holistically. While only in the beginning stages, the office has been abuzz with excitement. It has been a privilege (and a great learning experience) to be able to see this project begin to get off the ground.
One major lesson I’ve learned from watching all of this unfold is that, while it is important to be committed and invested in all you are currently doing, you also have to be looking ahead for opportunities to grow and change. As a person who is not always the biggest fan of change, this has been an especially important reminder. It is easy to hunker down and only look inwardly at what your organization is currently doing. But, with that short-sighted perspective you can miss out on important chances for growth. One of my favorite quotes sums this up nicely, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you always got.” –Mark Twain. As future employees in the nonprofit sector, I hope that we all remember this and always strive to grow and change in order to impact the communities we serve in unique and lasting ways.
Central Ohio Youth for Christ