By The Northwest Elementary School Team sponsored by Comcast NBCUniversal

This past Friday, November 18, the Northwest team had the honor of hosting the Thanksgiving break send-off Community Meeting.  We were able to spend some time with the entire City Year New Hampshire community sharing what we as a team and as individuals are grateful for.  It was a beautiful opportunity to come together as a team and a site to appreciate and show gratitude for one another as many will have the opportunity to return home for the first time since beginning their service.

Our central focus for the Community Meeting was the theme of gratitude and being thankful, not unusual for the time of year.  However, we wanted to make our theme something more than a standard thanksgiving theme, so we decided to centralize our theme on gratitude for the experiences and vicissitudes of life that have led us to where we are today.  We decided to highlight both the positive and negative experiences that have had their hand in shaping our lives and reflecting upon what they have taught us or given us as a result.  What came to fruition was a variety of subjects and focuses for each section.

Connecting the subject to life experiences, we embedded another theme into our planning: City Year's founding story of Water.  We reflected that our experiences are a journey, similar to one up a tall mountain and through numerous different environments and surroundings, like water flowing in a stream.  Just like the changing nature of everyone's' journey, water consistently changes its state and temperature.

Jared brought in snowflakes highlighting the struggles and challenges that others across the site decided to share in the Moccasins segment.  Emily and Taylor provided us with an insight into their Life's Work, the deep struggles and the unique appreciation they have for the lessons that life has taught them.   Marisa and Julie allowed everyone to grow one another's gratitude garden through a beautiful appreciation activity. Lindsey chose to reflect upon gratitude for obstacles in life and approaching those obstacles much like water in a stream does, incessantly flowing into it until the obstacle is worn away, revealing a shimmering bed of gems.   Gunnar created a unique activity visualizing ripples and joys as a giant river that is composed of the individual joys of all of us.  Sheshank gave us a blast from the past in his Shoulders of Giants section, featuring Aaron Mohammad, an alum from the 2012 and 2013 corps member who shared some unique insight into a corps year and provided invaluable advice.

Everyone left the Community Meeting on Friday with a deep appreciation for the experiences of one another.  We are all profoundly appreciative for the opportunity to share and relate to one another as we prepare to take a step back from service for a few days and spend some time with family and friends. 

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