Five years ago, if you had asked me to envision where SLB would stand today, even in my wildest dreams, I could not have foreseen the astounding reality of positively impacting the lives of 66,000 individuals within this short span of time.
Today is SLB’s 5 year anniversary as a nonprofit organization. I’ll never forget receiving the letter in the mail and with shaking hands I opened the letter in my car. I cried tears of relief, of happiness and nerves of what is to come. Today is a day of celebration because with every year we have continued to increase the impact we have been able to make.
To be honest, this was probably one of the hardest blogs to sit down and write… 5 years came and went so fast and it is incredible to see the growth.
These past 5 years have been filled with sweat, lots of tears, and many moments feeling unsure if we were going to make it. I was challenged as a person, as a leader, and all my qualities in between – including many many sleepless nights after rejection or comparison or just a bad day. I will always be honest about that and I am still gathering my growth as a leader of SLB.
However, with many moments of uncertainty, in just 5 years, we have had many beautiful chapters. Each chapter is marked with dedication, transformation, and a commitment to change. So let’s dive into memory lane together:
- August 2018: Opened up the letter that announced we were a 501(c)(3)
- 2019: A year of firsts including first family programs, first workshop, first teen conference and first year of learning what we needed to expand.
- 2020: Even during COVID, we impacted more than 1,150 individuals directly.
- 2021: Tripled the amount of workshops we have held including many workshops in schools, detention centers, women’s centers and Universities with faces we have never seen before, brought back our Family Programs after a year off from covid and created our first 5K fundraiser.
- 2022: Gained 10 new partners, impacted 1,220 individuals directly through our programs, and created a new strategic plan for 2023-25.
- 2023: Helped the most people in a year, held the most workshops and overall started to implement our new strategic plan.
With all the stats, the stories are what get to me the most. The stories of the parent connecting with their child, to the adult who finally has confidence within themselves to the teenager that overcame at-risk behaviors and gained many developmental assets. Each year, each chapter has come with stories that bring tears to my eyes.
I think today I am very lost for words so a simple thank you will have to do. Thank you to those who believed in us, to those who donated, who fund us, who volunteer as an ambassador, with your skills, as a board or an advisor, to those who were a shoulder to cry on, to my team of outstanding individuals – to every single person who has helped us along the way. We say a lot that SLB is a community and that is because of all of you. Thank you for showing up and for helping make such a strong impact.