By Stephanie Gonzalez

My term ended last week, and Olivia Wall took the helm of the Cooper-Young Community Association as the newly — and unanimously — elected president for the next two years. Olivia is a passionate member of the neighborhood and has shown her leadership as not only a board member and executive officer, but also as leader for the Landmarks Committee, which helps neighbors navigate our historic guidelines. I know she’ll do an amazing job. Congratulations, Olivia! 

There was no way of telling that the entirety of my presidency would take place during a global pandemic that required us to rethink everything the CYCA had done in the past. We had to halt publication of the neighborhood’s monthly newspaper, take all communication and meetings online, and rethink our biggest fundraisers two years in a row. Amanda Yarbro-Dill, the CYCA’s sole employee, did an amazing job connecting us all throughout a trying time. In fact, the Second Annual Cooper-Young Porchfest, which takes place this Saturday, came out of her brain child of hosting porch shows to allow neighbors to connect with each other outdoors. And thanks to her ingenuity, we were able to manage expenses and still raise enough money to stay afloat, which was something we weren’t sure we would be able to do back in March 2020.

With the end of my term, I’ve also decided to take a break from serving in an official capacity for the CYCA. Although I plan to continue to show up to events and volunteer opportunities, this will be the first time I haven’t served in some sort of role since I became a regular contributor to the LampLighter, that previously mentioned newspaper, somewhere around 2016. I feel like I’m leaving as a new era dawns on the community association. We have new board members for the first time in years, and they’re bringing new ideas and new energy. We have a lot of new neighbors, and we have forward-thinking leaders. 

I guess the thought I’d like to leave you with is: The Cooper-Young Community Association’s official mission is to “make our neighborhood a better place to live, work, worship, and play.” I don’t know who wrote that or how long ago it was, but I’ve always thought of our mission as “connecting neighbors with neighbors.” In 2022, the CYCA isn’t a home-owners association, it’s not a government agency, it’s not a business association. It’s a group of your neighbors who are volunteering to serve you because they love the community that we are all a part of. 

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