One Year Later: Looking Back on the First Year of Peace Love Progress, Inc.

Candle and a peace sign

It always seems impossible until it’s done.” Nelson Mandela

Just as I felt on our launch day last year, this day also feels a bit surreal.

It’s hard to believe that Peace Love Progress has been a living, breathing online space for an entire year. Last May 2nd, I wasn’t even sure we would make it through the week, let alone 365 days!

I wanted to write something eloquent for this anniversary post, but there are not enough words to describe how grateful I am for all the past year has encompassed. So, I decided it was more appropriate to jot down some highlights and thoughts regarding where we might go from here:

  • We have published a total of 61 posts and gained 1,000 followers across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
  • We have had almost 11,000 visits to the site.
  • The majority of our posts are from writers who live in Connecticut. A few have come from other states, including as far as California. We also have had international representation with posts from Canada and Austrailia.
  • For the Love of LeBron was our most viewed piece of the year. The little girl it features–Layla–actually got to high-five LeBron last month; maybe we can talk her mother into writing about this joyful experience!
  • Bethany, the founder of Color for Kids and one of the world’s most amazing middle schoolers, had posts with massive organic reach on social media. The piece she wrote in November titled Be Brave reached nearly 4,000 people on Facebook alone!
  • Our rock star team of volunteers exchanged over 5,000 messages on our communication platform, chatting about everything from who was editing the next post to celebrating a staff member making the Dean’s List at her university. While our busy lives and responsibilities (the ones that actually pay the bills) have caused some of us to lose touch, I cannot wait for my phone to be bursting with new messages again.
  • Financially, we are in the red for far less than I assumed we would be!
  • And as other thoughts come to mind throughout the day, maybe I will add a few more…

Also, to our incredible editor-in-chief/lawyer, who has spent approximately 500,000 hours (that may be a bit of an exaggeration) juggling both reviewing posts and setting the business foundation for the entire organization and to our talented webmaster, who made the site sparkle and could troubleshoot any issue within minutes–this would not be possible without you two. Thank you for your time, your support, and your encouragement.

On a personal note, as much as I wanted this site to be a place for others to read, write, comment, and motivate, I’ve learned that I also needed it to be all those things for me, as well.  I needed an escape–a place to pour all my energy when the news was too excruciating to watch. I also needed a purpose, and maybe most importantly, I needed a community. Somehow, I found all three.

So, what is in store for the future? Well, in a true act of serendipity, one of our staff members had a relationship with a professor at a local university who was known for teaching a business course on non-profit organizations. The professor was looking for an organization to use as the case study throughout the semester. After a few emails and phone calls, Peace Love Progress became just that. Last week, after they had spent the past 14 weeks preparing, I witnessed four groups of students enthusiastically present their business plans. They brainstormed some ideas that would have never crossed my mind. Next week, we will have the details of these plans in hand, and it will be time to determine what comes next.

Just as I said last year, I still have no idea what this organization will look like when it fully comes together. In fact, it will probably be pretty fluid throughout its existence, which feels like the natural course. Regardless of form and function, we will always need stories to be submitted, a team to keep the page running, a Board of Directors, and donations–but I will initiate all those conversations another day.

To everyone reading this–Peace Love Progress lives on because of you. It may not look exactly as I had envisioned it while scribbling down a “business plan” last April, but it is still here–and it is still valuable. In my darkest moments, I smile as I am reminded that there is a space to read about the impact a box of sidewalk chalk can make on a neighborhood, or how randomly placed painted rocks can make someone’s day.

I hope it makes you smile, too.

Caitlin Pereira

Caitlin is a higher education professional, social justice advocate, sports enthusiast, yoga junkie, and proud wife & mom. She is determined to save the world through small actions every day, and she finds it intoxicating to motivate and inspire those around her.
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