While visiting my mom last November, I received a call from Genesis Express asking if I would consider being the keynote speaker at their 25th Annual MLK March.
Humbled and honored -- I accepted.
Although I live in Metro Atlanta and have grown quite accustomed to quasi-city living, I'll always be a small hometown girl at heart. Having grown up in a small town, I understand the realization and importance of knowing where you come from. Those of us who have been raised in a town where there were no stoplights for years .. where there is 1 elementary, 1 middle school, and 1 high school have lived the old adage "it takes a village". We learn together through elementary, middle school, and high school. We grow up under the watchful eye of not only our parents but those of close and extended family and friends. We raise our voices together in church and can easily recollect adoring memories of Easter programs through the years.
If I were asked to summarize my upbringing in one word, I'd have many from which to choose. But, I think I could manage to do so.
What one word best describes this place I still call home?
C O M M U N I T Y
Genesis Express is rooted in that word --> Community. Established in 1987,its mission is to provide programs to help community members lead valuable, productive, healthy, and happy lives through supplemental support in areas of education, culture, health, social, and recreation.
A portion of Highway 139 was dedicated to Genesis Express.
A well deserved honor for Genesis Express who seeks to enrich the lives of others through SERVICE!
The theme for this year's event was "Moving Right Along".
I was able to share my story with a community of folks where I am no stranger and for most my story was not news. Unexpectedly, as I approached the podium, I became emotional. It was a true "full circle" moment. I am not certain how best to explain it. But, let's just say it seemed as though a host of childhood memories collided with my adult journey in a way that made my heart joyous and full. I know that Cadiz was praying for me as I fought my way through a Breast Cancer Journey. I know that Cadiz had a way of shaping who I am today. In a few short minutes, the full remembrance of all these things caused my heart to swell. I stepped to the podium and began to share my story with full understanding this this was home -- this place, these people.
I am thankful for much.
I am certainly thankful for this opportunity to come home and feel loved for who I was as a youngster and who I have become as an adult.
At the conclusion of our speeches, Genesis Express presented my aunt, Danielle, and I beautiful awards. Then, as the program was coming to a close, the mayor stepped to the podium and asked that Danielle and I approach. We were shocked, surprised, and humbled to have been presented a Key to the City.
We are able to give back because we learned to give back as children in a community that cares about others.
Thank you again, Genesis Express and the City of Cadiz for helping to remind each of us the importance of keeping COMMUNITY in your heart no matter where you live.
Martin Luther King Jr. said, “If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.”
Hugs and High 5s, CC