January is a common time for people to evaluate their course and make adjustments. People make resolutions and set intentions for the next year. This month, the RENEW team also wants to recognize all the hard work we did in 2015. We believe recollecting on the progress we made is just as important as the work we set off to accomplish in 2016. Here is a list of achievements the RENEW team made in 2015.

Adam Rubin

Executive Director

The most valuable life lesson I learned in 2015 was how to use pain to open up space for growth and transformation. During this past year I went through a lot of pain personally, and felt like I was part of a lot of pain collectively. In the past I always used to 'be strong' through these times, or assume I could use the tools I've built into my life to overcome that pain. What I learned this year is that you shouldn't avoid pain, or try to quickly overcome it. You have to sit with it. Look deeper into it. Learn from it. If we can be present with our pain, and intentional with our reaction to it, we have an incredible opportunity to grow. We have a chance to completely redefine our lives. We can set new goals, and put forward a version of ourselves that's honest, authentic and aligned with our values.

There's a quote we used in our very first workshop that I never gave much thought to, until this year. Les Brown, a motivational speaker, says: "In the prosperous times, you put it in your pocket; in the lean times, you put it in your heart...and that's when you discover who you are." There are going to be lean, challenging times no matter what we do. We can't avoid pain. We can learn from it, though, and how we come out on the other side can change the course of our lives.


 Savannah Thomas

Crowdfunding Intern

The past year of 2015 taught me the importance of personal happiness! I’ve always been a people pleaser and I naturally find joy in seeing everyone happy. Previously, I’d live my life to appease others despite my own personal preference. I’d tell myself that I was doing the right thing by sacrificing my happiness to be who everyone else needed me to be, but I wasn’t being true to myself. I was a doormat in denial, allowing people to take advantage of my generosity. However, this year I found my voice, and the courage to use it! I’ve found a healthy balance, and now I pursue my own happiness while still being considerate. I realized my attempts to keep others happy were futile because happiness isn’t an external force, it is something that is nurtured within. I now invest that energy back into myself so I’m able to be the best possible version of me, with bigger goals and a brighter smile! 

Jessica Wochner

Graphic Design Intern

In 2015 I learned that friends are there for you no matter what. This is a concept we hear time and time again, but I've never actually needed to test it out before 2015. Towards the end of the year, I was struggling with a lot of things mentally, and I felt like a complete mess. I lost work ethic, joy, and confidence. My friends were the ones to pick me up and let me know that they are there for me. I hadn't even told most of them what happened, but they knew something was wrong and wanted to know what it was they could do to help me in my time of need. It's an amazing and hopeful thought. I just hope that in time, I can be there for them in their struggles like they were for me.

Lauren Merideth

Communication Intern

The most valuable life lesson I learned last year was that every single person's perspective is different. That means, just because two people witness the same exact event, that does not mean they interpret it the same exact way. I use to believe that if I reacted one way, then everyone else around me must have also felt the same way. As obvious as it sounds, I didn't realize I was thinking this way. In particular this lesson has brought more joy and love into my relationship. It helped me realize that our arguments were a result of a difference in perspective. All I had to do was open my mind to my partners point of view. That meant, instead of arguing my point further, that I stop and ask a question about his view. Using love to see his perspective (rather than fear of being wrong) opened up more space for communication.