One of our ANEO Partners, CAAO, holds an executive auction each year where people volunteer their time to meet with auction bidders, for the purpose of growing relationships among leaders across our community and its various sectors. I’ve watched this annual event with curiosity in years past, and this year was invited to donate myself. I did, and much to my surprise, someone bought me!
This week I met the person who bought me, Jerome Baker. He said he bought me because of my civic and professional career experiences, he says he wanted to learn from me. I was intrigued and honored, yet not sure what to expect. What I met was an inspiring man, a boomeranger who lives in one of Cleveland’s new neighborhoods, a husband and father of 4 and a civic entrepreneur. Jerome recently launched an initiative in his childhood neighborhood, The Men of Central. Today the Men of Central held a Back to School Rally where they gave away school supplies, talked with parents about mentoring for their children and with their partner, The Boy Scouts, signed a bunch of kids up new troops.
Committed to giving back, Jerome is living proof that small acts make a difference. He even talks about them as small acts. Small acts are things one person could do to move dreams forward and that encourage others to bring their gifts into the conversation.
90 minutes later we had a list of things we wanted to do together, had given each other marital advice, and professed our shared passion for working with others to strengthen our communities. I’m going to introduce Jerome to a few people I know and he’s going to help me think about ways for me to dream small acts that encourage all people in our region to bring their gifts into the conversation, especially those in our core cities.