With the finish of this past quarter, we completed three full years. Without meaning to brag, we feel we have accomplished a lot. We devoted parts of a couple of weekly sessions to looking back with the purpose of better organizing ourselves. Board member John Forbis put together a list of our current and former clients into half a dozen groups. They fall into six main categories: Schools, For-Profits, Not-for Profits, Humanitarian, Town and Career Counseling. The For-Profit category is further broken down between start-ups and existing businesses. John also developed a grading system that allows us to see how we are doing versus the client’s expectations and how the client is doing compared to the suggestions we had made. John is a tough task master. Of the 66 individuals, school and town programs, businesses and non-profits we have worked with, only sixteen received a better-than-average grade.
There are 14 initiatives with two public schools – the Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School in New London and the Lyme-Old Lyme School system. Of those, seven have been completed. In New London, the projects are primarily related to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), and consist of teaching programs we have developed. In the Old Lyme schools, our work has been more diverse, ranging from mentoring, to judging at their “invention conventions” to helping out at their Summer Academy.
In the for-profit category, we have worked with a number of small and mid-size businesses. Of the twenty businesses we have worked with, two are prospective, six on-going, four in limbo and eight have either been completed or our work was terminated. The breadth of businesses has been both interesting and challenging. In a few cases, it has been found that brain-storming sessions are what the client really needs. Regardless, for those of us who have spent their lives in the private sector, it is good to see that entrepreneurship is alive and well in South Eastern Connecticut. Working with these people provides a sense of the joy that work brings, and the pride that comes from being one’s own boss.
Within the non-profit arena, we have on-going relations with several of the nineteen groups we have met with. In some cases we have successfully completed a project and invited back to assist with another phase. In other cases, either we failed or the client chose not to take our advice. Among those with humanitarian needs, our doors are always open. We have helped half a dozen individuals, people who have been victims of storms to those who have suffered bouts of depression and/or substance abuse.
We have been moving to more formalize our relationships with town officials, inviting the First Selectperson to attend our meetings on a quarterly basis. In these cases, projects are often long-termed; so measuring success on a quarterly basis is not meaningful.
We feel good about the good we are doing and look forward to finding more volunteers for the opportunities we see that abound in this corner of Connecticut.