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  • By Bill Seklar

The Season of Gratitude

As we enter the sacred season of gratitude and reflection, I cannot help but give thanks and reflect on 2018 – this our 95th Anniversary celebration year. What a year it was!

We started 2018 by unveiling The Community House’s new entity: The Community House Foundation. The Community House Foundation was created to secure philanthropic funds that are critical in our ability to keep that promise to our families. Robust philanthropy also helps support a wide range of programs, projects and services, today and in the future, that benefit the community, while helping to raise funds for the protection and preservation of The Community House and its historic building.

In 2018, our award-winning Early Childhood Center and the Hackett Infant & Toddler Center achieved yet again its coveted and well-earned 5-star rating as a HighScope and Great Start To Quality Program and Curriculum.

The Community House’s Hospitality Department once again took home the 1st Place – People’s Choice Award in the Mac ‘n Cheese cookoff event at the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham. Second year in a row!

Over 200,000 guests and visitors entered the doors of The Community House in 2018. And we survived the Old Woodward Avenue (Downtown Birmingham) road construction, sewer replacement and beautification project of 2018.

Projects to protect, renovate and preserve our historic property occurred in 2018 including the exterior Van Dusen Terrace fencing, lighting and pillar project. All projects were made possible through the kindness and generosity of others.

Iconic gatherings such as the Our Town Art Sale and Show, Dr. Martin Luther King and Diversity Champions Breakfasts, 90 & Beyond, Student Our Town and House Tour were held in 2018, and newcomer gatherings like the Bates Street Society Dinner, CultureTalks, Birmingham Downs (Kentucky Derby), SIP Wine & Food Classic and Women of Influence took place – all were highly attended and acclaimed.

The Community House was able to open its doors and open its hearts to a number of other non-profit or supported groups, including Race Relations & Diversity Task Force, the Birmingham Bloomfield Newcomer’s Club, The Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber, The Birmingham Optimist Club, Rotary, The Birmingham Lion’s Club, The Birmingham Shopping District, the Story Teller’s Guild, The Women’s Club, The Senior Men’s Club of Birmingham, The Birmingham Teen Council and the President’s Advisory (Young Professionals) Council.

Milestone moments were had, friendships were made, and sometimes sad farewells were bid. Yet throughout our special anniversary year – our past was celebrated, our mission strengthened, our resolve solidified, and our future made brighter. And, every step of the way, our gratitude deepened.

We were reminded that “Gratitude is a virtue every man should cultivate. Yet gratitude means nothing if you haven’t mastered the art of expressing it.”

As our “community” heads into the sacred season of counting our blessings, and as we wind down our special 95th anniversary year celebrations, all of us at The Community House: our leadership, stakeholders, staff and beneficiaries – continue to faithfully and humbly count our blessings.

For without all our cherished supporters, our donors, corporate sponsors, class takers, child-care families, event guests, community partners, young performers and dedicated corp of volunteers – our work would not be made possible.

We also wish to give special thanks to the fine city of Birmingham, to its hardworking staff, to the Birmingham Shopping District, to the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber, The Baldwin Public Library, to the surrounding businesses, restaurants and merchants, academic institutions, wouses of Worship and those visiting our extraordinary city, the county and beyond.

Happy 95th Anniversary venerable Community House – and Happy Holidays and many, many thanks to each and every one of YOU!

William D. Seklar is President & CEO of The Community House and The Community House Foundation in Birmingham.

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