I'm eager to share some thoughts as I reflect on my first year as Executive Director at HANDS.
For thirty-one years, HANDS has made neighborhoods in the Oranges places where people can and do choose to raise their family and run their business. Our community-driven mission led to a variety of programs with one thing in common — people working to improve their community and neighborhood. Three quotes embody what we do.
“Thank you for believing in me and not giving up hope.” - - Beverly, a new HANDS homeowner and foster mom who, over five years, went from high-risk tenant to delighted home owner
“We will build 100 affordable Live, Work, and Play spaces for artists and innovators in the Valley.” - - commitment made by HANDS founder, Pat Morrissy and now fulfilled with the completion of Hat City Lofts at the former Berg Hat Factory
“Nobody ever did this for us before! No one ever gave us money to help us solve our own problems.” - - grantee of HANDS new Neighborhood Project Grants, micro-grants to associations of resident or business volunteers who apply to HANDS for grants that build community, cultivate neighborhood leadership, expand youth activities, and promote health & wellness
When some people think of HANDS, they think of real estate, which is frequently the most visible part of our work. However, everything we do is designed and built around people making a difference in their community. This year, I have been inspired and challenged by many wonderfully generous neighbors and partners… which leads to an end-of-year challenge:
How are you making a difference in your neighborhood? We ask this of our neighbors, supporters, family, friends and our staff. Local community associations are an elemental building block of civil society and participatory democracy. Today, more than ever, everyone needs to be involved. Please share your story of someone who has made a difference where you live or work. We will share your story as inspiration for our neighbors. If you are not already active in a local community, please make this a New Year’s Resolution.
Finally, if you value the work of HANDS and the support we provide to neighbors in the Oranges, now is the best time to make a tax deductible donation. If you have already given this season: Thank You!
Wishing you the best of holidays, and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!
HANDS Executive Director