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The Beginning.

It seems like most everything begins with a good cup of coffee.

Eight years ago, that's exactly what started me down this winding road of community work: a cup of coffee. I sat in a local coffee shop in Northeast Minneapolis across from one of my friend's older brothers - a stranger at the time, really. He spoke of intentional living, of working for - and with - neighbors. And he ended with a job offer.

I was heading out of the country with a one-way ticket to Guatemala. A job in Minneapolis was not part of the plan.

And yet, I accepted.

I did my time in Guatemala with the understanding that I would come back to a job leading programs and building relationships in the South Minneapolis community. I was twenty-two at the time. Not a lot of wisdom, zero experience, and a whole lot to learn.

But man, a part of me is so grateful for walking into the space with the humility of knowing I didn't know anything. It allowed me to ask questions with my teens, be goofy with kids, and seek council from program parents. It allowed me to be human, be myself, and grow with the community.

Because it was in those humble spaces that I was able to sit in the most intimate of places with families: in family passings, in the birth of new babies, in immigration courts, in relationship stress, in quinces and baptisms. In life. And it is in those intimate spaces that relationships have turned to friendships. Friendships that have blossomed over laughter, over meals, and over countless cups of coffee.

And to think, it only started with one.

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