When you least expect it and most need it, the good will find you.
I don’t write blog posts like this often. In fact, I’ve never written a blog post like this before.
This past week was a unique one for me and one that compelled me to write this down.
I am back from a great (short) trip to Florida where my two colleagues (Christine and TJ) and I kicked off a redesign project with one of our newest clients, Children’s Services Council of Broward County.
We made a lot of progress in a short period of time. We undertook an efficient and effective group card sorting exercise to improve the structure of the main content areas of the website. We made great inroads on their wireframes, showing where content and functionality will live on the homepage and key interior pages. We got to show off our cool 360-degree VR headset, which you should come by to check out sometime. We enjoyed some great meals together with the client and got a chance to understand what makes them tick.
When it was all done, we received a great note from a member of the staff that read, in part: “I have sat in on several design meetings over the years and I have to say this was by far best! I love your approach and am looking forward to working with you.”
But that’s not why I’m writing this.
I’m writing because of a particular publication I flipped through during our Discovery exercises. It’s a family resources guide, that lists more programs and services than you can imagine and is printed in four languages in recognition of the diversity in the county. If you pay attention to it closely, and read it with empathy for the individuals it is designed to serve, it’s one of the most daunting publications you’d ever encounter.
This organization funds more programs than I can count, which is fine because that’s actually TJ’s job. And, the nature of the programs and the needs they serve are abundantly clear. Just a sampling includes:
- Family Support Programs
- Teen Programs
- Juvenile Assessment Center
- Youth Advocacy
- Arts Programs
- Prosperity & Hunger Programs
- Positive Behavior Support
After processing that collection and how we’re going to make all of these great programs more findable for families and providers who need it, I took a stroll down CSC Broward’s hallways. There, I was treated to a breathtaking display of art, all done by children in various programs that the Council supports. Taken as a whole, it was mesmerizing.
Later in the day … it hit me: I needed this.
One of dozens of pieces of artwork that adorn the hallways of CSC Broward’s offices.
When I was wasn’t taking in the art or processing the value of their programs, I was reading inscriptions on the numerous awards and accolades spread throughout the office.
Later in the day, as we were wrapping up and taking a group picture, it all hit me: I needed this. Not because it was 40 degrees warmer than it was in D.C. at the time. I needed it because, like many of you, I needed to be reminded of places that are doing good in the world. I needed to hear the laughter of a building full of positive, dedicated people who are often tasked with helping people through the most difficult challenges in their lives.
It was a trip that only lasted a few hours. But it was one that I needed more than I knew.