This week marks the end of an era for me. For the past 9.5 years, I have been the Executive Director of Wide Angle Youth Media. As the founder of the organization, I have been the dreamer, the mother, and the steward of a wonderful vision – a world where young people’s voices, needs, and actions carry the same weight and power as adults. Through teaching youth how to use media technology to tell their own stories, share them with a community, and give back what they learn to others, we have made a difference in the lives of thousands of Baltimore youth. And now, I am overjoyed to pass the torch to my excellent colleague, Susan Malone, who has led the organization by my side for the past 7 years.
Leaving something you helped create is bittersweet. I am so proud of Susan, and Wide Angle’s staff, board, youth, families, and supporters for their dedication and determination. I am relieved, too, to have weathered the storm that has been the last 2 years of economic struggle for our organization (and everyone else’s), and found ourselves stronger and more prepared than ever before. I am also feeling a bit lost, as I hand over my baby to the care and feeding of others.
But overall, I am ready to move on. I stepped down only after several years of consideration, two years of planning, and12 months of very focused preparation. There are plans for me to continue to work with Wide Angle in a very part-time capacity, conducing professional development trainings and sharing my knowledge with new staff.
This leaves me with days and hours to find a new path. Leaving such a large part of my life behind is difficult, but moving forward towards something new may be an equal challenge. I have many, many ideas – they are spilling out of my head when I first wake up each morning, before I even know what day it is. I want to write and record stories, collaborate with some of my brilliant friends, eat healthier foods, walk more, move slowly, contemplate, visit new places, and most of all, embrace this phase of my life.
Stepping onto a new path can be thrilling, but dangerous. It can be easy to get lost in the past, or following someone else. There are cracks and drops where you can trip and get hurt. If you move too quickly, you can leave tracks that scar the trail for others. Just like walking on a new sidewalk, I plan to look ahead of me, step carefully, and enjoy the changes as I move forward.