Thursday, April 23, 2015

Ending My First Real Job

I recall a time in the fall of 2010 when Caleb and I were sophomores at UAB. We were exploring the city and happened to stumble upon this beautiful place that we discovered was Railroad Park. We were both completed amazed! There used to be nothing there, and suddenly, this beautiful park seemed to pop up overnight. On this day, I never thought I would one day be working there. After graduation, though, an opportunity arose, and I'm so thankful and still kind of stunned that I was able to work/serve there for a little while. 

Working with the Railroad Park Foundation (RRPF) was my first "real" job. My last day working there was last week on Wednesday the 15th. Working for RRPF was a great opportunity for me on so many levels. The experience has helped me grow professionally, emotionally, personally, and in so many other positive ways. For many of you not from the Birmingham area, RRPF is a small nonprofit organization that operates Railroad Park, a 19-acre urban green space in downtown Birmingham. It opened in 2010, and since then, it has been an amazing addition to Birmingham, encouraging all sorts of business to build up the downtown area, like Regions Field (home of the Birmingham Barons, our minor league baseball team) multiple loft apartment buildings, hotels, micro breweries, and so much more. It has really transformed the city center.

RRPF takes care of managing events, fundraising for the Park, maintaining the grounds, and a lot more that would take way to long to explain. I was one of five staff members, in addition to our one AmeriCorps member. I started at the Park as an AmeriCorps member, (which can be described as the domestic Peace Corps - for more info, click here), and I did all sorts of stuff, focusing on the Park's membership program and volunteers. When my year of AmeriCorps service was over, I moved into a staff position where I focused more on fundraising, specifically grant writing.

I worked/served there about a year and a half altogether. It's the longest I've ever worked anywhere, and I can't describe how much I will miss it, especially my dedicated, amazing, and strong coworkers. Each of them have taught me so much. Before I worked there, I wasn't even sure how to professionally answer a phone... Let's say I've come a long way since then, thanks to the leadership and examples from the staff. My last day was not easy. I think all of us were crying. It was great to have one more lunch with everyone, despite the bittersweet tears.

If anyone is interested in finding out more about Railroad Park, please visit the website!
It would be great if you would also "like" Railroad Park on Facebook!

I know some of you are already members, but I would encourage anyone who isn't a member to become a member of the Park! You can be a member from any part of the country, so if you don't live in Alabama, don't let this stop you! This isn't a huge commitment, so please consider it. :)  At least check out the different levels and the great benefits you can get!

I cannot express how amazing an experience this opportunity was for me. Alas, ending this job was just part of moving on in life and pursuing a dream that has been on the horizon since 2009. I absolutely cannot wait to come back to Birmingham in a few years to see how the Park and the city have grown. Thank you to all of the RRPF staff in making me part of the Railroad Park family. I will miss each of you, and I truly cherished my time with the Foundation.


1 comment:

  1. This is a great park. So proud of the part you played in its growth. I have the sticker on my car to show it! Enjoyed all our lunch meetings there too. Now on to see what you will help create in Mongolia! You must find us a good place to meet for lunch there.