During the final song in the musical Wicked, the Good Witch, Glenda, and the Wicked Witch, Elfaba, are in Elfaba’s castle. They know the castle is about to be overrun, so they take the time to reflect on their friendship, it’s challenges, to ask forgiveness from each other and, most of all, to thank each other for helping in their individual growth as people. In spectacular Broadway fashion, they end things with the song “For Good” and part ways, hoping for the best for the other.
As I think on this song, one line in particular seems to hit home in regards to my time with AALEAD:
“Because I knew you, I have been changed for good.”
As I sit here and write, reflecting on my three-ish years with AALEAD, I feel the unfamiliar sensation of tears welling up in my eyes because, as some know, my tear ducts have been sealed by elf magic!
AALEAD was my first job out of college and will always hold a special place in my heart. It is where I learned what it means to be part of a team, not just thinking about how my decisions affected me, but how they affected the entire organization, my family, as a whole.
AALEAD is where I learned how to carry myself professionally and learned that the professional world is a bit different from the care free college bubble I was accustomed to.
Thinking of the youth, my coworkers, the cohorts and friends I have made at my various schools, I can honestly say I have been changed for the better. Working was transformative and gave me the confidence I never thought I could have. I had always thought of myself as incapable, unable to do anything right, and never really trusted in my decisions and, when compared to others, I felt I was never good enough and those thoughts haunted me day after day after day. But through AALEAD, with the encouragement of Surjeet, Ari, Keo, Melor, Tina, Dia, Charles, Mylynh, and my other team members, I found that confidence I never knew existed, which led me to the decision to challenge myself to go out and broaden my horizons beyond AALEAD. As I was empowering youth to seek more, I, in turn, was empowered to do the same.
Closing thoughts would be this: thank you all for giving me something I never thought I would have and really helping to open my eyes to who I am and what I was created for. I appreciate you all. Keep on keeping on.
Peace, love, and applesauce,