DSC_0338Over 300 people from the Parma and surrounding area came to Parmatown Mall to help us celebrate as Community Ambassadors was formally introduced to the community.  Below is the Ribbon Cutting speech I delivered to those in attendance:

Good afternoon and thank you friends, family, Parma area citizens, local business leaders, clergy members, and dignitaries for attending this joyous occasion today, Saturday, February 25th, 2012, at Parmatown Mall, for the dedication and ribbon-cutting of Community Ambassadors. 

I would like to kick off this celebration by first sharing with you what Community Ambassadors is and declare our commitment for our community.  Today, we mark the beginning of what we believe is a promising initiative and a positive endeavor to inspire faith, hope, and love in the Parma and surrounding areas.

Community Ambassadors is an independent, Christ-centered, Christ-driven non-profit organization, dedicated to the following purposes:

  1. We are committed to encouraging greater unity and facilitating greater collaboration among the faith-based organizations within our community, and to assist the nearly 100 churches in becoming more connected and a more integral part of identifying needs and availing resources to address the most challenging and most pressing issues within our community. 
  2. We are also committed to assisting Mayor DeGeeter, Mayor Byrne, and Mayor Dell-Aquila and their administrations, Superintendent Graham and the Parma City School District, the Parma Area Chamber of Commerce, and all of our local service organizations, programs and initiatives, such as Parma Area Family Collaborative and the CBS Partnership program.  As state budget cuts and economic challenges place additional strain on our county programs and social services, Community Ambassadors endeavors to stand in the gap and help alleviate these pressures, to help locate available resources and to pair solutions to the most apparent needs within our community. 
  3.  Finally, we are also committed to rolling up our sleeves each and every week to serve this community through programs like Pay It Forward Cafe that are very practical, yet strategic and effective ways of strengthening families, inspiring individuals, and providing valuable resources and necessary support to those next door and across the street who are facing challenging and uncertain circumstances.

At Community Ambassadors, our ultimate mission is to do whatever it takes to meet people at their point of need, even when that mission requires loving in a big kind of way and serving whenever, wherever, and however.  But our job doesn’t just stop there.  At Community Ambassadors, we want to see people and families move from a posture of receiving to giving.  To help transform them from being consumers to producers.  We want to see people find hope, but then pay it forward and inspire a spirit of citizenship and productivity throughout our community.  We also want to model to other cities across our state and nation of what can happen when a community collaborates together for a greater cause.  We can make a difference if we want to.  As a director of Community Ambassadors, I declare that we want to.  It is our community.  It is our commitment.

In closing, I want to mention that without the collaboration and commitment of various local churches, businesses, area programs, many volunteers, and the favor of our city, we would not be able to do this.  Today, it is with great honor and enthusiasm that we are, not only showing our gratitude to all of our community partners, but also launching forth from this moment, with a greater commitment to serve and to collaborate, to see a brighter and more productive future for our community.

Now, before we cut this ribbon, I would like to introduce the other co-directors of Community Ambassadors:  Jeremy Kiner, Dona Kiner, Aaron Powell, and Daniell Powell.

Can we now bow our heads for a dedicatorial prayer? 

Lord, first and foremost, we want to thank you for this day and this remarkable opportunity.  Thank you for the tremendous support that we have seen and are experiencing in our community.  We dedicate this day, this space in Parmatown Mall, and our future endeavors to you and your glory.  We want to honor and serve you by honoring and serving our fellow man. We want to grow and produce where we are planted.  Help us to understand what it truly means when you say, It is more blessed to give than to receive.  Give us a vision and a heart for our city, and equip us with the knowledge and creativity to effectively and positively impact our community.  Today, we move on from this moment with a charge in our spirit, and a commitment in our heart, to be community ambassadors, to be responsible and accountable citizens, and to inspire faith, hope, and love throughout our community.  We pray this in your mighty name, Jesus.  Amen.