Last week, during a meeting with my supervisor, my supervisor asked “Well. Four weeks left. Is there anything you would like to do in your last time here?” My stomach sank and my heart immediately felt heavy. To make things worse, the office had experienced a constant presence of darkness as nature decided to storm and rain for days without any let up.
The idea of my time ending at Central Community House felt strange. I knew the fellowship was finite when I applied for it. However, I have grown to become so used to Central these past few weeks and develop such a strong attachment to the place, its mission, and more than anything its people.
That same week, I had been heating up my lunch in the cafeteria when the cutest toddler from Central’s daycare program had “escaped” and ran to me with her arms up. I am not sure if I was supposed to do so, but I picked her up and held her for a moment. I returned her to her teacher, but precious moments like that remind me of how special the community at Central is. I do not know where I will find another workplace in which I can engage to the extent that I do with a neighborhood that is so personal to me. I also do not know where I will find another workplace in which I have the luxury of being surrounded by and learning from beautiful Black children and youth while not having the responsibility of actually taking care of them (ha!).
After retrieving myself from my melancholy, I eventually answered my supervisor’s question. I let her know that I would like to continue sharpening my skills of writing grants and planning major events. Boring, right? I know. But, one thing I have learning since working with Central is that what you learn transcends your job description. You learn every day the meaning of advocacy, care, community, (and the art of finesse while under financial constraints) through your interactions with the people around you. As I continue to learn formally through writing grants and helping plan events, I will continue to learn informally through my community.