Valentine's Day is around the corner and we'll celebrate on the day itself, Wednesday, February 14th with a Lunch Bunch at the Broadmoor. I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible. I have the same excitement about seeing all of you as I did in school when I'd anticipate giving and receiving hand-written Valentines. We'd each have a paper bag with our name on it and sometime during homeroom, we'd put Valentines in some of the bags. Of course, my mother being the person that she is, insisted that I write a Valentine to everyone in the class to ensure that each person received a Valentine in their bag. It was an important early lesson about inclusion and my ability, or perhaps responsibility, to do what I personally can to ensure that no one is left out.
All these years later, that's something that I still strive to do and hopefully a value that I bring as Executive Director of the Village. As I've said many times before, it's my privilege to lead such a caring community that's there for one another. As our 2023 statistics show, we sponsored nearly 400 programs and delivered more than 1,600 services. That's a lot of love shown by and for each other!
One final Valentines story to leave you chuckling. While my mother made sure that we were kind to our classmates and friends, all bets were off among me and my sisters. One year, a family friend, Miss Davies, gave us a Whitman Sampler box which at the time seemed beyond extravagant. My sister Toni and I both love cherries. Although I've never been a fan of chocolate (yeah, I know that's unfathomable to you chocolate lovers) a chocolate covered cherry is a different story. So, knowing that there was only one of those in the box, I quickly and secretly swapped the coconut cream and the chocolate covered cherry pieces, rendering the legend of on the box top useless. While Toni bit into the coconut cream, I had just swallowed the delicious chocolate covered cherry.
So, this Valentine's Day, I hope we are more like the one that shows care and concern for others and less like the bratty brother that I once was. I truly hope to see you at next week's Lunch Bunch and hope to hear your favorite Valentine's story.
Frank Finamore is the Executive Director for Cleveland & Woodley Park Village