11/6/2019

To the inspiring GRuB community,

Autumn greetings to you all.  It is with appreciation and wistfulness that I let you know that later this fall, I will be moving on from my role at GRuB as Youth Programs Director.  I am feeling the pull to new adventures, challenges, and learning and know that this tremendous community of caring, creative, and dynamic people will continue to grow this beautiful mission into the future.

I am one of those lucky people who have had the opportunity to do the work of their heart for many years (23 to be exact).  When I left Evergreen, I wanted to be a part of cultural change, and during my journey at GRuB, I have seen glimmers of what humanity is meant to be.  I have seen lonely, confused, and hurting individuals (myself included) come alive by virtue of being truly seen, heard, and needed.  This is not rocket science, not magic, not youth development, not really... it's evolution.  For three million years, we evolved in the context of small, interdependent communities, and our psychology, our physiology, our spirituality are made for that experience.  That's been GRuB's healing work, to bring people together on the land, in community, and with purpose.  

Since stepping out of the executive directorship six years ago, I’ve had the privilege of 'pollinating' this work in new communities.  It's deeply soul-quenching to see new GRuB-like projects growing in Tumwater, Eatonville, Grays Harbor, and other places.  More than two hundred youth per year are now engaged in this model and connecting to meaningful work in the context of a caring community.  GRuB’s work is part of a growing movement, supporting a new generation of young leaders who are grounded in land, justice, and community.  Another passion of the last three years has been working on the Tend, Gather, and Grow curriculum which re-connects children (and adults) with the knowledge of how to live in place, in connection with the ecosystem around us.  Amidst my own joy in learning more about wild plants and medicine, I have been deeply impacted by the hope-laden lesson that humans can be and have been (and continue to be in indigenous communities around the world) beneficial members of the biotic community.  What an important message for everyone today.

Thank you to all the early board members and donors who took a chance on two hippies with a vision.  Thank you to Blue, the other hippie, for co-leading this place with me for so many years.  Thank you to Rich and Maria Doss and Dan Barker for gifting us the work of building free vegetable gardens (3,000 to date!).  Thank you to the staff who committed life energy to bringing our mission to reality and made real sacrifices along the way.  Thank you to Katie (my successor and past E.D.), Rebeca (our current Operations Director), and now Deb (our new Executive Director) for guiding this mission with passion, determination, and grace.  And perhaps most profoundly, thank you to the hundreds of young people who ignited this mission over the years and made this work personally transformative for me.  

GRuB has grown into an organization that is well-rooted and community-loved.  I feel confident moving on knowing that the current staff, board, volunteers, and supporters are evolving this work in ways that are vital, joyful, and relevant.  I am especially excited about GRuB’s upcoming organizational structure shift, the commitment to increasing leadership opportunities for program alum inside and outside the organization, and the centering of land connection throughout our programs.  I encourage you all to lean in, find out more, support where you can, and mostly to fill your own cup with GRuB community connection and love.  

What's next for me?  I am excited to spend some time recalibrating, spending time with family, writing, and waking up my body.  I will be offering consulting and teaching around youth, organizational, and community development and looking for ways to leverage system change through powerful human-centered processes.  You will see me around as I will certainly stay connected to GRuB's work as a volunteer, donor, and consultant on projects.  Please feel free to reach out to me at kimgaffi@gmail.com or stop by my bon voyage party on December 12th.  I would love to thank you in person for making this journey so sweet.

In the deepest gratitude and love,

Kim Gaffi

GRuB’s Co-Founder and Director of Youth Programs & Initiatives

PS - If you feel inspired to honor my time at GRuB with a gift, then I invite you to join me in becoming a monthly donor.  Express your commitment to supporting GRuB’s vital work into the future AND help me kick my co-workers’ butts in fundraising during my final weeks!  How about $23/month to celebrate 23 years?