Due to a complicated rift in my family, I spent until the 4th grade living in Western Heights, 5 Points, and Burlington.
Thanks to my grandparents, I was later given every opportunity and had the best role models a young person could ask for. My grandfather was my first life mentor... a man who saw the best in everyone, genuinely believed in the golden rule, and didn't just talk the talk, but walked the walk. My memories of him are like a giant bubble of hope, love, and sunlight that he selflessly passed on to me. My biggest hope is that I can share that bubble of hope, love, and sunlight with the kids in the community the way he did with me when I needed it most.
I raised three kids as a divorced, self employed IT professional. When my children were grown, I knew I had to go back to where I started. I helped start the community garden in 5 Points with a group called OCO in 2016, which is where Ngina and I met and realized we were very much of a like mind when it came to the kids in the community.
I’m giving back the things I know helped me as a young person, and books were always front and center of that. They were a survival tool and doorway to a whole world I could never have dreamed of without them.
I am thankful every day for mine and Ngina's chance meeting in that garden and all we are able to do together with our individual backgrounds, skills, and life experiences.