Empower . . . Embolden: Our 2017

2017. This will be a year to remember. 

Last year, EDGE focused on empowerment. Our programs sought to highlight and encourage the inherent dignity and humanity of each participant in our programs. We wanted them to know that someone was cheering them on, someone cared, and someone believed they had a future worth investing in. 

As we look back, I am thrilled with how that message thread itself through all of the work that we poured ourselves into. We did not just work to accomplish goals, but we worked to increase the confidence and capability of the people we worked with. Some days that looked like 50 kids whose worlds have been turned upside down standing and singing and dancing on a stage in front of 200 people from their community. Some days it looked like groups of volunteers and staff showing up to an unfinished building and making puppets talk, kids laugh, and beauty happen. 

Some days it was engaging with Americans and empowering them by giving them a glimpse into the world of the Middle East and the refugee crisis, by arming them with information and an introduction that they can no longer deny the humanity of the situation. 

Some days it was empowering ourselves, seeing where we've come from and planning where we're headed and thriving off of the joy that dreams coming true brings. 

And so, as we close the chapter of 2016, we do not lay aside our commitment to empowering, but we do, with gratefulness, believe that we were successful. And we carry that value on with us as we continue to work. 

But this year, this 2017 that still lies mostly before us, we are deepening our goals to not only empower, but to also embolden. 

In 2016, we empowered by providing resources and making sure that we ourselves and the people we worked with were indeed capable of chasing their dreams. 


This year, we want to not only prepare them, but we want them to believe it themselves. We want to embolden those we work with to believe that they are capable of dreaming big and making it happen. We want to see this boldness happen in our kids, our staff, our volunteers, in ourselves, and in you. 

I can't wait to see how this unfolds this year, how this goal seeps into our projects and programs and plans. I can't wait until January 2018 when we look back and see traces of this goal throughout the year, knowing that kids lives have radically changed, and their view of the future is totally different because we were committed to not only teaching them, but making sure they grew. I can't wait to see what projects are underway and what new territories we have charted because we chose to be bold and not just capable. 

I hope you'll claim this goal yourself, and I can't wait to hear what adventures your boldness leads you to! 

In the sentiment of our Pop-Up themes, let me add: Live bold, love big; who you can, where you are. 

Kylie Barker