You've noticed and you weren't wrong...
Engage is growing in our impact and programming in ways that continue to blow me away. And you continuously ask how you can help - even those of you who have never attended an Engage event but believe in what we are doing.
I'd like for you to consider something for a moment:
Do you remember the last time you were new?
To a town, school, place of work, initiative?
Whenever I describe Engage to someone for the first time, I get the same reaction but for three different reasons.
THE REACTION: an immediate, excited, audible intake of air.
Reason #1: This is exactly what they've been looking for and need RIGHT NOW.
Reason #2: They wish they'd had this kind of support years ago when...
Reason #3: They know how valuable being connected and having access to mentors was for them in the past, and they want to make that access possible and easier for others.
And then - they hurriedly launch into the story of:
a specific situation that they are in, or
a person they know who needs help navigating their recent move to the area, or need for a job change, or
how important this kind of programming is considering our political climate, and
their love/hate relationship with social media and dependency on technology for connections.
Whether you are new to Engage, have participated for a while, or are just quietly lurking to stay in the know - I have a request of you.
Over the last couple of years, we've been running a program called the Engage Connector Program.
The Connector Program is like the welcome mat to Ann Arbor.
We match individuals who have recently relocated to Ann Arbor (called Connectees) with individuals like Jonathan Goldstein who are already in the habit of meeting newcomers and introducing them to what makes life in Ann Arbor an enriched experience for them (called Connectors).
Starting this Fall, we aim to put 100 newcomers through the Connector Program in a 12 month period - to give them momentum and support as they look to get rooted in A2. But to do that, we will need your help!
I said I had a request - so, here it is:
When you meet someone who is new to A2 - introduce them to Engage, and specifically the Connector Program. Becoming a member and having moved to Ann Arbor within the last 2 years - are the only qualifiers to get access to this program.
If you identify as a "Connector" or know you are well suited to being a Connector, let me know! We will keep you in the loop as we add additional resources and training around this program!
If you are an employer, consider adding Connector Program support as a relocation benefit to your new hires - or their significant other!
We will be announcing more exciting new partnerships to support this program over the summer. So stay tuned! And, thank you in advance for filling my inbox with questions and offers of support! :-)