The Open Door turned 15 years old this month and I finished my 10th year as Executive Director!
15 years is an important achievement for an organization. Obviously, we do not exist to make sure that we exist! Our mission to meet the needs of youth in our community who find themselves at risk isn't completed yet. Hopefully, there comes a day when there aren't any youth in need of our services.
I thought I'd have some fun and see how the Open Door is similar to a typical 15 year old. I hope you enjoy.
1. At times we may be a little awkward and have some growing pains!
Over the time that I've been at the Open Door we've had periods where we were growing slowly and times where the demand for our services and the size of our organization changed quickly. We've definitely made mistakes over the years. One of them was setting up a bbq at a teen dance with 400 hungry youth. We thought we'd sell hundreds of burgers. We didn't sell 1!
2. We are still trying to figure out what we want to be when we grow up!
We have a very strong sense of mission that guides our decision making. This has helped us keep our clients as the central focus. We've even turned down options that might have been positive financially because it didn't advance our mission.
More recently, we've been pushed and are moving towards more housing supports. How do we keep our focus on service provision rather than just becoming a landlord? How do we find places for our clients to live when there is little or nothing available?
3. Finally, and most importantly, like a typical 15 year old, we feel pretty good about our ability to take care of ourselves, but we also know that it takes a community to raise a teenager!
Thank you to the many people and groups that see working with youth as a good investment in our community.
Various people will contribute to this blog. Check each posting for the author.