Some milestones are a little surprising to me — and today’s certainly falls into that category.

Just a few short months ago, Jaradoa was in a donated office in another company’s space. Then we got our own little office, which was small, but it was ours. A few weeks ago, our small office was so packed with people that Anika and I had to sit on the floor! What?! In our old space, there was no room to grow in the cramped, borrowed quarters of another company , but now we have more and more volunteers in our new office stepping up and taking on roles that we had to make a schedule for the two “extra” desks.  Something about that has made me feel like we have grown more than anything else.  It also makes me think we are gonna make it.  Most new businesses fold within the first 3 years.  But guess what?!  Jaradoa turns 3 today!

I can hardly believe the company that has grown from the mission statement I wrote just over 3 years ago.  How far we have come since the 13 page PowerPoint presentation that I would take with me to all the coffee appointments I set up to see who would join me on this new adventure.  It’s funny, you have to truly believe in something  before you can start it, but you don’t really know what it is going to be or what it will look like, so you don’t really know what exactly you’re believing in.  I just knew that storytelling was powerful and that I wanted to use it to serve the city.  I knew that artists had so much love and skills to serve but needed more opportunities that fit their passions, gifting and schedules.  Looking back there was A LOT I didn’t know, which I won’t get into here, but what I will say is that I didn’t know Anika Larsen would be able to partner with me. And I didn’t know that people would respond to our mission as they have and that we would be able to stay alive during one to the worst economies of our generation.  Whether I knew them at the time or not, those things happened plus much more. 

 I cannot begin to say how grateful and impressed I am with all of those that have made Jaradoa what it is today.  In only three years, we have a membership of 18, over 250 people who have volunteered with us, and over 200 people who have contributed to us financially.  The sheer number of people that have come to work and play alongside us almost takes my breath away,  but when you add to it how lovely and generous all of those people have been then I really start to feel it.  On New Year’s Day, we were having our Jammy Party for all Jaradoans (members, friends, volunteers etc) and we were playing a game and at one point I just started to laugh because although we all wanted to win, it was the most encouraging group of people I had ever seen – no matter what team you were on.  We talk about the “Jaradoa Way” and have a hard time trying to figure out what exactly that means.  I think it was coined by Adam, stage manager of our first musical, when he saw Anika, who was co-producing and the female lead, taking home the dirty laundry to wash for tomorrow’s show.  Sometimes I joke that I hope people don’t just think the “Jaradoa Way” is people doing stuff for free!  But I think it holds so much more than good sportsmanship or doing dirty laundrey.  I think of it when I see so many people hold ownership of Jaradoa, when new comers feel welcomed, or when we invest in each other’s lives.  We are still trying to define exactly what the “Jaradoa Way” is, but I think it is about love, or I guess showing mercy, beauty and truth toward each other.  If you haven’t been part of the“Jaradoa Way,” and don’t know what I am talking about, come find out.  If you have been, maybe you could share what you think it is! 

I would like to extend the deepest gratitude to every single person that makes Jaradoa what it is.  I am so very humbled by the talent, energy, dedication, and resources that have been shared with us; you are all part of Jaradoa.  Thank you, and  Happy 3rd Anniversary to all Jaradoans out there!