On the Up and Up: 2015 in Review

2015 marked the year The Lift moved from the basement and upstairs to the second floor, where we can at last get fresh air and sunlight!

But our new space isn’t the only thing moving upwards—all sorts of things are reaching for new heights around here. For example, the number of people at our staff meetings is increasing. Our Leadership Development Internship brought two new faces to the table, both of whom we’ve been in relationship with over the years. It’s been great to see them grow and take on new responsibilities. We’ve even hired one in a permanent position as our Assistant Youth Programs Director, and the other is on hiatus as he plays rugby for the USA Eagles. We also hired an Operations and Innovation Manager to help us work more cohesively as an organization and help our community thrive.

Some other things that started looking up last year are:

  • We had more program participants than ever before, with 25 in Cash In, 13 in Lift Up Kids, and 22 employees at the Plaza.
  • We bought a safe, reliable van to drive those students around in and to replace our old, broken down one. We did this using the money raised during Give to the Max Day in November, which was our most successful campaign yet. Thank you!
  • And speaking of money, we had a total of 90 individual donors in 2015, more than we’ve ever had before, the support of which allowed for much of what you’re reading here.
  • We also received grants from seven different foundations, four of which have awarded us grants in previous years.
  • We built a new website that we hope better reflects who we are and allows visitors to easily find needed information.
  • Our Leadership Interns began developing a music class, Freedom Studios, which we’ll pilot this summer. We’re excited to take a dive into the arts with our students.
  • Our job-skills training program at The Plaza Theater is doing better than ever. 25 employees have been through Beat Change, our life skills class, and the theater itself is growing in attendance.
  • We hosted the biggest Christmas Store we’ve had, with $6,000 raised from the community and over 60 families sent home with a total of over 400 gifts.

We were only able to accomplish these things through the continuing support of people like you. Even more than the numbers, we’re thrilled at the level of engagement and enthusiasm we experience every day. We’re thankful for the support of our friends as we work to build an environment where the community feels welcomed and loved. We’ll keep doing our best to soar to new heights in 2016. Come visit our new and improving space when you get a chance!