On September 3rd, I will be celebrating one year since I began working for the Foggy Bottom West End Village. My, how time flies! In many ways, it seems like yesterday. But, in other ways, I am amazed at how the Village has taken shape. It has been a fascinating year.
Dictionary.com defines "fascinating" in this way: "of great interest or attraction; enchanting; charming; captivating." When I read those definitions, I wondered if "fascinating" was the right word to describe this year. The more I thought about it, the more it seemed right.
When I started on September 3, 2013, the only people I knew in the Village were the Board members I had met through the interview and selection process. Even with these Board members, my knowledge was very limited to a number of meetings that took place over a few weeks.
Since then, however, I have truly been fascinated by all of the villagers whom I have met. Here I am talking about our Board, our members, and our volunteers - all of whom make up this wonderful community called the Village. You have remarkable stories that you have shared with me and with one another - not just stories of your past, but stories of life today and stories of your future.
Creating a Village like FBWEV takes a lot of energy and work on the part of all of us. In the midst of all that work, those stories that we share keep us going and make it all worthwhile. That's because our stories are not only interesting, but enchanting and captivating. They are stories of accomplishment and struggle, of comfort and challenge, of remembering and learning, of celebrating and changing, of independence and connections.
I hear stories of people reconnecting after many years through a random volunteer assignment. People recognize their fellow villagers on the street whereas before they would have just passed by. Villagers learning that they are not alone when they hear someone else talk about the struggle of caring for a loved one. Members learn about what it takes to live independently, but also join together for fun, food, and friendship.
I am so glad it has been a fascinating year!