Friday, January 9, 2009

There's work to be done

For years now -- since teaching, really, which ended over a decade ago -- I've longed to get back to meaningful work.

Come Monday, I'll get the chance to put my money where my mouth is. It'll be my first day on the job as the New Communities Program Manager for Humboldt Park, a troubled Chicago neighborhood not far from home. For all the challenges that face the area--gang violence, lack of green space, poorly performing public schools, unemployment, gentrification, homelessness, you name it--its great virtue is an abundance of local community organizations. For the next few years, I'll be working directly with these groups to bring their vision, i.e. a grassroots vision, of neighborhood improvement to fruition.

Hopefully, by the time those years wind down, there'll be a handful more community gardens, a bit more public art, some better prepared high-school kids, a few reintegrated ex-offenders, significantly healthier residents, and additional viable housing options for those in need. It's a tall order, a yardstick that I hope measures me well once the tally is complete.

These last few weeks I've been sort of sleepwalking through it all: the holiday chaos, saying good-bye to a job I've held (and strangely, at least partially loved) for the last 7 years, and finally preparing myself to be the new kid. On Monday, though, I'll wake up to a very different commute, with a brand new office and set of co-workers to navigate.
I'll be snapping out of it and getting to work.

6 comments:

LazyMF said...

Our dad grew up playing at Humbolt Park.

tracy said...

He did? Maybe he started all the trouble...

Best of luck, Christy--sounds like a beautiful kind of challenge.

kkurtz said...

congrats & good luck w/the new job.
(whip that hood into shape!)

leslie said...

you're the one who can do it, Christy! Hold fast and good luck.

Adriane said...

Congratulations Christy on the new job. You are the perfect person to take on those challenges. What a wonderful undertaking in a neighborhood that has the potential to be amazing.

Christy said...

Thanks to all for your kind words of encouragement! I'm looking forward to having the first-day butterflies behind me.