Last night CDM celebrated Christmas with a big dinner party.
The entire affair was planned by our newly formed "Employee Relations Committee." Keith Ackerman, our COO, has the group working very effectively.
The evening was fun, the food was really good and there was laughter, remembering, door prizes. . .lots of door prizes, music and Christmas carols led by our own Preston Weaver, minister of the Central Dallas Church and chaplain for Community Health Services.
During the carols, I found myself seated beside John Greenan, one of our lawyers and the Executive Director of Central Dallas Community Development Corporation.
I could hear John singing. He claimed not to be able to sing, but he was doing better than I, though that's not saying much! Way to go, John!
As I took the evening in, I realized how much has changed and grown since 1994, the year I joined CDM.
Back then, we had four members of the team and within a year three had departed! Today we have 100 employees. We've added 40 new team members during 2005.
It has been quite a year.
We are touching more individuals and families and we are able to go deeper with more significance than in years past.
This year our public interest law firm closed out its 1,000th case, while opening its 1500th.
Our community-based medical team will report almost 20,000 patient visits by the end of the year and our Class-D pharmacy will have filled almost 15,000 prescriptions.
The list goes on.
But last night almost everyone was there, with a few exceptions. Everyone seemed glad to be there.
At the same time, I noticed a kind of reserve, a serious attitude that kept the place a bit subdued.
Part of it may have been the room. Part the fact that the entire team is seldom all together in the same place with family members and other guests present. Part due to the fact that we've never had an event quite like this one. I'm not completely certain.
But, I have a theory about our natural reserve. It ties somehow to how we spend our days. It is about the work we are doing, the things we see and what we are learning and realizing about the city and poverty and justice, or the lack thereof.
Last night was a good party time. Today the work goes on.