To celebrate the first anniversary of Show Us Your Hands! as a non-profit, the Board of Directors is writing a series of blog posts about the past year. Each of us writes about a different topic, relevant to us as individuals, to the organization and to the community. We welcome your comments and hope you’ll share these posts with others to continue the conversation. Eduardo Flores, President, closes the report by taking the broader look at our goal of uniting the inflammatory arthritis community and what this means for the future of Show Us Your Hands!
Two years ago this month, Show Us Your Hands! debuted as a collage of hundreds of hand photos of people who live with inflammatory arthritis. What was conceived as a visual tapestry of all different type of hands from around the world quickly grew into something larger. For some people, it was a step into a place where they could feel proud of their hands. For others, it was a way to share stories about all of the different things that these hands continue to do. For other still, it was a moving visual representation of the community of individuals who live with inflammatory arthritis, and who continue to connect with one another for inspiration and support.
Last year this month, Show Us Your Hands! announced that we had grown our board to include individuals who live in the United States, Canada, England, and South America. Our application for nonprofit charity status was approved, completing a busy first year which included the design of multiple inflammatory arthritis community collage posters, as well as the Our Hands Can! photo book.
This past year has been a very successful one, in many ways. Even though we have been a little silent at times, we have been busily working at creating all of the different foundational pieces of running an international organization. Most importantly, we have carefully been building a foundation that not only allows for continued growth in the future, but that also allows for our organization to be fully run by a group of dedicated volunteers, all of whom live with inflammatory arthritis.
In doing so, we have learned a lot about ourselves as a community, as an organization, and as individuals. We have learned how to balance the excitement that comes with expanding existing community projects and launching new ones, with the realities of living with inflammatory arthritis. It’s been fascinating, building an organization which is based completely upon the needs of individuals who live with rheumatoid arthritis. In previous posts we have shared some of the lessons that we have learned during this process, and we look forward to sharing more updates in the future.
During early January we will be announcing one more opening on our board of directors, and look forward to hearing from individuals who would be interested in joining our dedicated team. We would also like to thank all of our friends and members of the community who have donated funds over the past couple of years, so that we may reach the place we are at the moment. We are excited with how much this community has grown over the past couple of years, and we look forward to uniting and inspiring even more people who live with inflammatory arthritis both now and in the future.
Show Us Your Hands! President
December 17, 2013