In the words of the late, great philosopher, Groucho Marx, “Hello, I must be going.”
Now, I have accepted a position at a Tyler-based nonprofit, Next Step Community Solutions; I started Friday.
I came to Tyler four years ago more than a little green; my knowledge of the real world was so limited. It makes me smile (sometimes cringe) to think on it now. You embraced me with opened arms and made me feel so welcomed. So much has happened in the past four years; I met and married my best friend here at the paper. I learned about myself and about how the world works. I learned about facts of life that try to make me jaded and how to fight not to be. From covering the nonprofits in East Texas, I learned of the heart-twisting needs, but also of the overwhelming generosity of this community. I can’t count how many times I have felt a lump in my throat as I have told the stories of the wonderful people here.
I certainly still have a lot to learn, but I learned so much from this community and from the very patient faith leaders who taught me about diversity and the nuances of belief. I learned about how, even though we can be very different, we are often more alike than we think. I learned not to be afraid of those differences.
Most importantly I wanted to say thank you, thank you to you — dear readers — for your kindness and support. You have sustained me with your encouragement. I will think of you often and fondly (and please continue to say hi if you see Stewart Smith and me around town)!
As for the work I’ll be doing, as a coalition coordinator for Gregg, Marion and Harrison counties, I will be working with community leaders mostly to help prevent substance abuse among minors. Drug and alcohol abuse are a huge issue with so many ripple effects. I am excited about a new way to hopefully do some good.
Above all, I hope that you remember the depth of God’s love for you and that His grace and peace will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Please continue to spread your goodness and light, readers. I’ll miss you.