Hello Dear, if not Faithful, Readers,
Clearly we’ve given you no reason in the last nine months for you to be interested in our lives or the activities that have kept us busy. We’ve been exceptionally occupied with so many adventures since last August, and wanted to catch you up on some of them:
After ten years of ministry, I (Michael) left my position as Youth Director at Kishwaukee Church to pursue a graduate degree in Public Administration from Northern Illinois University. It was a bittersweet transition; the position allowed me to disciple hundreds of students, lead alongside a top-notch team of adult and student volunteers, teach multiple times during the week, and serve in cities throughout the country. I continue to miss my students, leaders, and the Kish family, but am grateful to live not far from many of them and continue to see students often.
Since then, I’ve been working as a Management Intern in the City of Janesville, while taking three classes per semester. The coursework has been rigorous yet timely, and the internship allows me to apply what I’m learning each day. The internship has given me a fresh appreciation for local government leadership and the public servants who continue to improve service delivery in a variety of ways.
Jennifer continues to serve as the Program and Membership Coordinator at the Northern Illinois Center for Nonprofit Excellence (NICNE). From Leadership Cafés to Business Luncheons, Jennifer handles the logistics for every NICNE program: Registration, marketing, set-up/tear-down, and much more. Nonprofit organizations that are members with NICNE have access to Jennifer’s expertise as well. Board training, strategic planning, grant applications, and technical assistance are among the many inquiries that Jennifer receives from nonprofits in her position.
Last Fall, Jennifer completed a volunteer position for Transform Rockford, an initiative which aims to make the Rockford region a Top 25 city by 2025. Jen’s role was an ‘ arts and recreation spoke lead’. The work was extensive and varied, and involved leading a team of volunteers in discovering best practices in cultural and recreational planning throughout the country. Jennifer also serves as a board member on our local neighborhood association, where she manages the social media pages, assists with neighborhood programs, and much more.
So, although we don't expect our schedules to diminish anytime soon, we’re working to get back to our original intent for this blog: “Every day presents an opportunity learn more about what creating a better city means, and this site is our effort to work through some of those lessons…” Not a week goes by where we discover a great idea, or are discouraged by a certain outcome, where we say, “we need to write about this.” So expect more regular, ongoing content from us in the months to come. For now, here are some photos to serve as updates of what’s been keeping us busy the last several months.