2017 Leadership Awards Poem

So many people have requested a copy of Fable The Poet's wonderful poem shared at 2017 YNPN Grand Rapids Leadership Awards.

Here is it for your enjoyment!

Thanks again for inspiring us, Marcel!

This industry can be a thankless one,
Long hours can be combined with unintentional short-sightedness from
People who think their age, social status, or contribution to your
Organizations parallel wisdom
Or clarity in regard to the individuals that you are serving.

I know it can be mind-numbing,
But remember to breathe.

Even when vision of “The Mission” feels lost in a haze of politics,
Fundraising, and the loss of steam over hot hair.

Remember to breathe, even when it seems like a burden.

At times your patience alone can be freeing.

Now exhale,
Your efforts are the wind in so many individuals’ sails,
But no matter how difficult the voyage, try not to forget why you chose
This path in the first place.

It sure as hell wasn’t the paycheck
(At least I hope that wasn’t your reason)

In a city like this one, you could have taken the FOR profit route lord knows there are enough of them and the number grows by the day.
Probably end up making more money
Have less of the same struggles, 

Probably end up making less of a difference,
Not end up being there to aid individuals who truly need allies without the resources to navigate through their struggles. 

But you didn’t.
You chose to make a difference.

Be it art or advocacy, beliefs or bettering our neighborhoods,
mentorship or meals, nurturing our youth or the minds of future leaders.

You chose to be here.
Be present.

And for that,
I can’t thank you enough! 

You all might NOT BE the machine,
But be proud of that!

Understand that you are the oil that keeps the most valuable parts
Moving smoothly.

The people.

So, thank you. 

Thank you to:
The volunteer coordinators
The development officers
The individuals in charge of community outreach

Thank you to:
The Executive Directors (at least the ones who understand their people and missions are more important than themselves) 

Thank you to:
The program managers
The Program coordinators
The program directors

The people who handle programming
Shoot, anyone with ‘programming’ in the name

(Nonprofits really like the title ‘programming’, ‘director’, and ‘officer’)

The board members who selflessly donate hours and hours of service for missions that too often go underappreciated or unnoticed.

To the board members who aren’t as active as you might like them to be, but still raise capital for those missions to be successfully accomplished.

(But not to the ones who do it to just to sleep better at night) 

I hope all of you sleep better at night, knowing that you are serving your community for a living.
That you give 40-60
UNDERAPPRECIATED hours a week, for those who need it.

And no award, certificate, article, or recognition will ever be enough to show you how much we all appreciate you – your people – or your missions.

(Well maybe or maybe not a pay raise) 

But for now, this event, maybe maybe this poem - will have to do. 

Thank you.