The CEF community took over Umstead Park on a warm July evening, filling the park with exuberant joy, music and a hearty celebration. This annual amped up cook-out celebrates one of the major tenets of CEF— financial independence— with food, music, and dancing in the expected CEF fashion.
Financial Independence Day (FID) 2017 exhibited the gold standards of CEF events. Ms. Yvette led the vibrant Advocacy Choir in a CEF renditions of Smile by Kurt Franklin and the brand new You by Germaine Dolley. We celebrated CEF savers with the Safe Savings raffle, fueled by generous donations from local businesses on Franklin Street and in Durham. Hot dogs were served with a makeshift glove while Members and Advocates eagerly volunteered to dish out the amazing side dishes they had brought. The forecast was calling for rain and thunderstorms, but somehow our song and dance kept the rain clouds away!
FID and events like FID are the products of CEF’s prevailing spirit, the essence that has provided me and many others with such a nourishing and edifying environment. This event was a true testament to the resourcefulness, determination, and genuine hearts of the Advocates and Members who are drawn to this organization. We danced to music from the whole spectrum: live instrumental jazz, our very own Member- Advocate trio of Nijah, Gabi, and Ken, and what was described as “the old people playlist” now living on Spotify as a playlist called FID 2017. Mike Alston won one of the prizes again, with an individual from the crowd shouting Go auto-save! We cheered for Cameron’s CEF Alumni Ambassador Award, celebrating his transition into housing and thanking him for his commitment to attending 86 Opportunity Classes and being a great assistant to instructor Mike Wood.
An impromptu dance crew assembled under the compelling direction of Ms. Lorraine. Those who could, stayed back to help us put Umstead Park back together before the rain began to pour. These results are possible through a community that is deeply woven through unwavering support and strengthened through a commitment to compassion.
It was truly humbling to experience such a tangible moment of what makes CEF so great; my wide experiences meeting with CEF Members is not always so easy to summarize.
While I’m coming to terms with my internship ending and our eventual return back to two office hours a week when the school year begins, I know that there is always these cherished connections with the Members, Advocates, and partners in the area that form the greater web of community that CEF is a valued component of. I am grateful Financial Independence Day continues to be a special joining of those who cherish/treasure/love each other and CEF, culminating in a day of celebration.
Blog post contributed by Joyce Yao, Financial Services Specialist Intern in Chapel Hill and a rising sophomore at UNC
Photos by Emily, Vera & Caroline
A special thank you to sponsors: Market Street Coffee, Buns Burgers, Harris Teeter, Love Chapel Hill, The Yogurt Pump, Holy Lutheran Church, The Parlor, and the Durham Co-op.