In the last blog post I described my plan to help Flywheel tell its story. That was just over a month ago, and we’ve come a long way since. In the past month, I’ve been working hard to capture stories surrounding the work Flywheel has done with a number of organizations. What I didn’t expect out of this process was how much I would learn from each of the people I came in contact with throughout this journey. From life lessons to business structure, it’s been a pretty impactful experience.
Here’s a glimpse of the stories I’ve worked on and the lessons I’ve learned.
Suzy DeYoung: La Soupe
Suzy operates La Soupe, an organization that focuses on reducing food waste and transforming unwanted produce into healthy nutritious soups. The primary focus of La Soupe is to feed Cincinnatians struggling with food insecurity. To date, La Soupe has almost 200 volunteers, serves 47 organizations and rescues hundreds of pounds of produce a week from landfills.
What I learned from Suzy:
Passion combined with talent can go a long way. If you believe in something whole heartedly, you can make it happen. Suzy’s passion for food coupled with her belief that every child in Cincinnati deserves access to healthy food, has allowed her to take an idea and turn it into action. Because of Suzy and her team of volunteers, hundreds of children in Cincinnati no longer feel the pain of hunger.
Anthony Berin: City Kitchen
City Kitchen is a new workforce development program that provides students with life skills such as financial training and conflict resolution, as well as culinary skills. City Kitchen combats unemployment in Cincinnati by training future chefs, returning from the criminal justice system, to fill an ever increasing gap in the food industry. City Kitchen is an 8 week culinary program that operates a pop-up restaurant in Findlay Kitchen, Thursday–Saturday. The nine students serve 72 people a night, gaining real world experience.
What I learned from Anthony:
Everyone deserves a second chance. Give people the tools and environment to succeed in, and watch everything else fall into place. The chefs at City Kitchen are talented folks looking to change their lives as well as their families. Equipping people with meaningful employment and the chance to further their careers, greatly reduces the rate of recidivism.
Troy Bronsink: The Hive
The Hive has grown from an idea to bring folks together to live more meaningful lives into a successful social enterprise. The Hive is a spot where folks can go to attend classes based on an array of topics centered around social engagement, creativity, and living a more mindful, compassionate life. The Hive serves between 50-70 people per week.
What I learned from Troy:
There’s so much in this world that divides our attention, making us less creative, less efficient, and less innovative. Be mindful of influences around you and take time to let your brain rest.
Rachel Loftspring: The Breeding Ground
The Breeding Ground is a social network for parents calling for family supportive workplace policy laws and values in the U.S. They provide community and resources for parents that are looking to make a difference in their families; no matter where they are in the United States. The Breeding Ground focuses on moms AND dads. They are inclusive of families of all kinds, whether straight or LGBTQ.
What I learned from Rachel:
Don’t like the way something is? Do something about it. Rachel saw an unfair system in place that didn’t serve families. Instead of complaining about it, she did something about it. She took action to not only improve the system for herself, but for generations to come.
J.B. Boothe: The Hearing Speech & Deaf Center (HSDC)
The Hearing Speech & Deaf Center (HSDC) provides care to thousands of Cincinnatians and their families. HSDC provides audiology services, speech therapy, occupational therapy and community services for the deaf. No patient is ever sent away for their inability to pay. HSDC is committed to advocacy and supporting individuals and families to overcome obstacles associated with communication. They are a vital resource for the communities of Cincinnati.
What I learned from J.B:
J.B. reminded me that not everyone has access to the care they need due to their financial situation. This is absolutely unacceptable in my book. Everyone deserves the right to affordable health care and treatment for existing disabilities. Providing treatment can be life changing and allow folks to go back to work, interact with their friends and family, and tackle day-to-day errands.
This process has been such an eye opening experience for me. I’ve seen first hand the time, process, talent, and capital needed to take an idea from conception to something real and tangible. It has given me confidence that I too can guide myself and others through similar processes.