Growing Pains: Reflections on My First Four Months

The Core Group’s recent success at hosting a community wide Skate Party at the end of September caused me to reflect upon my first four months at Greater Columbus Mpowerment Center.  During this short period, the Center faced a number of challenges due to staff and programmatic changes.  Despite these obstacles, I remain humbled by the relationships I’ve formed with the Core Group members, the expertise of the new staff, the potential for GCMC’s growth in the community and the perseverance displayed by the program’s participants.

Walking through GCMC’s doors was slightly intimidating for me!  I couldn’t help but wonder, what the heck are these guys going to think about this white, heterosexual female who is stepping into their space, their program and their personal lives?  I should have considered the stigma each young man had encountered in his own life.  How often had each one of them walked into a public venue and felt out of place or misunderstood?  Perhaps it is these unique experiences which have led them to not only accept me, but often seek me out for advice, help with one of life’s challenges or just to strike up a quick conversation.  (How lucky am I?)

Once I’d overcome my initial fears of being accepted by the program participants, my staff resigned.  In fact, the first employee resigned before my position started!  Then one-by-one each staff member resigned.  Here I was a new Program Manager with no one to manage!  The fear and uncertainty only worsened when the Core Group discovered their trusted mentors were resigning to move to other agencies in the community.

One thing I’ve learned from my short time in this role is that when one door closes, another opens.  A month later, I connected to an experienced Mpowerment Coordinator.  Not only was he excited to introduce new programs and fresh perspectives, but I’ve really seen a renewed sense of inspiration and motivation in the Core Group.  It would have been effortless to quit the program, to complain about staffing shortages or give up on relationships, but the guys have not only held on, they’ve become even more involved in event planning, hosting and the production of new, creative ideas for the Center.

Productivity is contagious!  Former Core Group members have rejoined.  GCMC staff continues to increase and strengthen community connections.  After three months of steady struggles,  I’m happy to say we are all on the same personal and programmatic page.   Overall, I am reminded that Greater Columbus Mpowerment Center embodies the program participants: given hardship they overcome adverse circumstances and develop into even wiser, stronger men.

What If…..?

Sometimes  we  get  so caught in all or  our  duties and roles in the  world we  forget to  dream or  entertain those  WHAT IF QUESTIONS? So for a few minutes  lets entertain those what if questions!!!


What if you could be any animal or insect what would you be and why?

I would be a butterfly because it represents all that I hope to be. I want to continue to grow, and blossom into the woman God has intended for me to be.  I hope to travel and explore the world as well!

What if you could be any shoe what would you be?

I would  be  an open  toed heal because it nice  outside  and I would be able to enjoy  the cool breeze  and  give myself some  height.


Feel  free to join in and  share your  dream  goals  and  aspirations and  those  What If’s!!!

–Danielle Haynes, MSW, LSW, CDCA

Choose To Live

  • GCMC LogoThe Law of Attraction says that whatever you put into the universe you will get back from the universe. Think negative thoughts and you will receive negativity, think positive thoughts and you will receive positivity.

I apply this to my everyday life. If I expect shade from the community I will get shade from the community. If I expect to fail, I will fail. On the other hand if I expect to have supporters there will be people who genuinely support me. If I expect to positively change someone’s perspective and life then it will happen. Now that is not to say that haters and shadiness simply goes away. The haters are meant to hate. It is their job to do so. Lord knows, if you put a group of gay black men together in one place shade will be thrown. The difference –  I have a positive outlook on life, I don’t see it. I am able ignore it with ease. I am able to remain confident in my life purpose. I am able to overcome and move forward regardless without even addressing any negativity.

I say this to say to my fellow young gay/bi black men, do you above all! Always strive to change yourself, grow and learn. When things grow, they also change. Any living thing that is not changing is not growing and anything that is not growing is dying. Choose to live! Choose to be the best you, you can be. MPowered People Make Healthier Choices!


Bruce M. Brown- Mpowerment Coordinator