Thursday, October 15, 2015

A Rochester Penny - beat up, but still valuable.

This morning, I walked again to my meetings at a local hotel.  The walk is about 1 mile.  I decided to walk along the Genesee River that runs right through downtown Rochester.  Genesee Beer is named for this river and the brewery sits on the western shore just north of high falls.

There were a bunch of seagulls resting on the river.  They spend much of their time on Lake Ontario, but sometimes work their way inland.  Lake Ontario is just north of the city of Rochester.  

It was so peaceful watching them, that I took a little video for you to see and share in that.  

As I finished my meeting, my friend Nathaniel picked me up to take me to lunch.  He had struggled to find parking and was parked a little way away.  As we were walking, I found a penny that was very beat up on the sidewalk.  Every time I find a penny, I think it means something.  Today's penny, for me, was symbolic of how I feel about Rochester.  It looks like it has seen better days.  It has definitely not had it easy.  With a little bit of cleaning, though, and maybe some care, this penny will be shiny again.  It also hasn't lost any of its value just because it has been beat up.  I love this city.  It really is a great place with great people working hard.  

My morning meetings had been focused on alleviating poverty in Rochester and the other places where Pathstone had offices.  I sit on the board of Pathstone.  In spite of years of great work, Rochester still has the highest rate of childhood poverty in the country for a city.  Less than 50% of children in the city schools graduate.  Less than 15% of black children graduate from high school.  There is a crisis that has been building for years in the city.  I still love it.  I still want to do what I can to make a difference even though I moved to Brooklyn.  

Hopefully the work of Pathstone's CEO and other nonprofit leaders can be strengthened to make this beat up city shiny again.  

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