A collection of love letters written to the town.
Be patient. Nothing great happens overnight.
It wasn’t long ago when I stepped into this city with a purpose and eagerness to make a difference in my new hometown, so it saddens me that at the turn of the New Year I will be starting in a different city with a new job. I had great hopes for us and I want to be sure the other 99% in this city understand that the visionaries, artists, entrepreneurs and supporters have a plan for your future before I leave.
As a little girl, I often told myself to “dream big.” To this day, I make sure my dreams are bigger than my britches, but that they are followed by goals and a plan for sustainability. I fell on hard times during the past two and half years, but never once did I give up on my dreams for you. Earlier this year, when I was at my worst, I felt awful that I wasn’t able to give the 110% that you so rightfully deserve. I was back on my target plan, but was falling short when an opportunity presented itself elsewhere. I may not have been able to make my dreams a reality with you, but rest assured that others are taking small strides towards great things. Be patient. Nothing great happens overnight.
During my time here, I have observed a city that can be quite resistant to change. Change is inevitable so embrace it. Support those who have the foresight for a better Toledo and let them work magic. If you stand in their way, I will be the first to tell you that they will push until you step aside. With all the negative actions and reactions that happen within our community and beyond, let the positive actions take precedence. I can’t tell you how many people I have talked to about what we have going for us and they say, “Really?! In Toledo?!” Inform them, show them, engage them, and involve them.
“The quiet people have the loudest minds.” – Stephen Hawking. You may remember this from the TEDx in September and I felt this was true for our great city. Even when it’s quiet, it’s screaming. Toledo, you are a city that is flourishing with original ideas. I think of how you are coming into your own and what you have the potential to be if everyone works together as a community embracing this ever changing city. I see the bustling streets of the 1920s returning, new businesses and restaurants, Pedi cabs and bicycles crowding the future bike lanes in downtown Toledo, and once crumbling buildings, restored and in use. I see a city that has impacted its community through art that is present in every neighborhood. I see a downtown that is vital and active with public art in green spaces and people strolling along the Maumee River after 5pm during the workweek. I see a Toledo that has pride, a city that was once struggling now thriving. I see a community that is invested in the progress of Toledo while sustaining current initiatives.
I believe we were put on this earth to help one another and we do it everyday not knowingly. If someone has an idea, listen, support him or her, and help in anyway you can. It doesn’t matter how much or how little you help, they will be thankful. Do you how many people I have shared my ideas with? The entire 1% that is ensuring there is future for you. Some of my ideas may have fallen on deaf ears, but I am forever grateful for those that took a chance and listened, and gave me their support and friendship. Nothing great was ever accomplished by one person. If you are seeking a goal for personal gain, just stop while you are ahead. It takes a team that shares one common goal for the betterment of the community at large.
With this I will say, “See you later.” I do not believe in goodbyes because they are far too permanent and that is not realistic. Remember that no good deed goes unnoticed. You may think that the smallest thing you do tomorrow did not mean a thing until someone mentions it three months later. To that person, what you did mattered and you mattered. Be the change you want to see and others will follow. You inspired me to be the change and for that I am thankful and a better a person as a result.
Until We Meet Again,
In 2013 Kim left her beloved Toledo and her teaching adjunct position at BGSU for a more permanent job. She wrote this letter as she was preparing to leave. In her own words: “It was an incredibly tough decision and I miss the community terribly. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is to invest in your community. I’ve never felt more at home and connected to a community than when I lived in Toledo. I was getting my hands into anything I could and I was fearless. Believe you can do anything and you will accomplish great things.” Her header photograph was taken by Joseph Herr and it was taken in the great neighborhood, The Old West End. Below are two of her favorite buildings Toledo: the Pythian Castle and the Berdan Building. Kim feels those are two buildings that have so much character and the potential to be something great.