I love this time of year. The changing of the weather. The need for comfy, long sleeve clothing. The holiday displays. Everything about it. And I especially love it here in Youngstown.
You can post on Facebook all day long how wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas is down in Florida or on the West Coast, but something about the brisk weather, the snowfall, and the pure sense of magic you get here in Northeast Ohio will never compare.
This time of year has me reflecting on much. Can you believe 2018 is almost over? Me either.
As I look back at everything I’ve done this past year, here are my top 5 things I’m thankful for here in Youngstown:
1). This City’s Passion for Its Own Revival
It’s no secret that community leaders, business owners, residents, and even friends of the city have been its biggest cheer squad for a number of years as it has pushed forward with its revival. And there’s no end in sight for that. I’ve never met more determined, hard-working, passionate individuals than those here in the YO. But maybe I’m biased…
2). Small Business Owners
The backbone of the city, in my opinion, is its small business owners. The influx of small business owners that I’ve seen over the past 5 years is something that isn’t talked about enough. Sure, some never made it past the idea stage, and some only lasted a couple years, but there is no shortage of successes. Those should be celebrated. And when small business owners partner up with other small businesses, that is where I smile. Entrepreneurs want to see other entrepreneurs succeed. Prime example, SPRUCE, a home decor store locally, is a prime example of a small business owner partnership. This year, not only are they doing a “Pop-Up Shop” in Downtown Youngstown, dangerously close to my office (literally across the parking lot), but they’re an exclusive retailer for the merch of another local brand, Penguin City Beer. And it goes beyond that; decorations, candles, and miscellaneous home goods from local vendors like 1820 House, the Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership, and Rust Belt Print Shop, just to name a few. THIS. This is what I love.
3). The Sense of Family
People constantly ask me why I haven’t moved away from Youngstown yet. Everyone’s reasons are different, but the reasons people say they leave are the reasons I stay. It’s small. Everyone knows everyone. That is the beauty of a small town. That is what makes it feel like home to me. When I can go to any event by myself and see someone I know, it’s that feeling of comfort that makes me stay. When I can reach out to my community for advice, recommendations, and get a genuine response, it’s that sense of family that makes me stay. It’s what makes this place special. Everyone knows everyone, and everyone looks out for everyone.
4). City Living with a Touch of Nature
Honestly, who hasn’t seen the infamous picture of Lanterman’s Mill when you Google Youngstown? It’s a staple in this community. The park as a whole. According to Maplets, Mill Creek Metropark is the second largest metropolitan park in the United States after Fairmount Park in Philadelphia and the 140th largest park located within the limits of a U.S. city. And honestly, I’m not surprised by that. Mill Creek is a sprawling park system and as someone who doesn’t necessarily love nature, I love the park. There’s something about it that just captivates you from any entrance you start at.
5). We Sure Can Cook!
Youngstown has a strong Italian heritage, and that is something I will FOREVER be thankful for. I can’t talk about the food enough in this town. The pasta. Woah. The pizza. Dang. And even the none Italian food. The BBQ. I am literally salivating as I write this! No matter what you’re craving, you can undoubtedly find it here. And that is something I, and my belly, are super thankful for!
Honestly, there are many things I am thankful for. But being born and raised in the YO, and the opportunities to turn me into the person I am today are something that will never receive enough praise. This time of year… this town… these people… these are the things I am thankful for.
Source: Corey Patrick
Source: Sarra Mohn
Source: Dawn Kabetso Heldrith
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