“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” ―  Rumi

If you have been to Good  Neighbor since July 2018, you will have noticed some changes.  We made changes to both our physical spaces and to some of our procedures


  •  September 2018 we rearranged furniture in our reception/waiting room to open up the spaces.

    The beginning of an ocean wave.

    Clever holds all the pieces.

  •  October 2018 we stopped being open on Fridays to help with our financial flow for Healthy Food Vouchers
  •  October 2018 we started recording all assistance transactions electronically (as well as hard copies)
  •  January 2019 we moved Thursday office hours from morning to afternoon
  • In January 2019 we changed our Healthy Food Voucher Coupons from $5 to $10, from separate Meat and Grocery to client’s choice of Healthy Options
  •  April 2019 we got new hardware for every technology need (director, finance, reception).  Thanks Leadership Ames!
  •  April 2019 we, again, arranged our current furniture to create a dedicated reception area, a dedicated finance area, and better space use in the director’s office. Thanks, again, Leadership Ames!
  • In April 2019 we changed our Gasoline Vouchers redemption sight form Hansen’s Sinclair to Ames HyVee Gas stations
  • We’ve added six new volunteers and said good-bye and thank you to three

The reactions have been a little mixed, people react to change in different ways, but overwhelmingly, people are commenting about the more open spaces and dedicated area for children to look at books and sit in big chairs with their adults. We will continue to make small tweaks to the arrangement – move the desk six inches to the left, the printer turned the other direction . . . small things like this.

Ocean Wave

Wise encourages order.

I appreciate everyone’s patience as this work in being done.  A wise mentor of mine (the one who taught me to love metaphors) once suggested I look at a situation like an ocean wave. At first, the waters cleverly churn as tides meet streams meet atmosphere meet winds meet variables that bring different waters together.  Second, the clever chaotic waters become organized and wise to form a wave.  Depending on the circumstances under the water and in the air above, the wave may gently roll or may build and grow to extreme proportions.  Eventually, all waves roll over until they are small gentle visitors to a beach. They come up as far as they can manage on shore, then retreat in return to their ocean origins to become a different wave.

The next waves that form are different waves, yet essentially made of the same waters that have already visited the shores. The waters that form waves may have been part of the deep dark depths, may be new waters that have returned to the ocean after evaporation into the atmosphere.  Good Neighbor is its own wave system.  Over the twenty years of  existence, chaos has became organized to wash over Story County residents in need.  Our cyclic rhythm of clever chaos and wise organization has become the rhythm of our work.  As Good Neighbor formed, moved to new locations, added and subtracted programs, volunteers, and  leadership, a varying rhythm has brought us to where we are today.

When you have been used to seeing the sea, or Good Neighbor, behave in one way for a long period of time, it can be unnerving to see swells and hear roars of crashing waves.  But take heart.  We are almost finished with changes.  We have one more major change coming May 1, 2019, when we change our hours.  The good news is, we will be open a bit more.  The bad news is . . . well, there is really no bad news.  It will just be different, again.  The new hours will reflect our being in better sync with our partner agencies and the changes that will happen with our parking once Fareway begins construction.

Hang in with us Good Neighbor clients and supporters.  This sea of humanity, caring, and hope in the middle of the Iowa prairie is forecast for calmer seas as we head into the last quarter of my first fiscal year at your director.  I appreciate your trust and patience as I’ve stepped in, assessed, and added new rhythms to Good Neighbor.  We’ll post our May hours soon.

Until next time,


Photo of small waves rolling onto shore.

Clever and wise give way to rhythm