Today, our Executive Director, Tom Hanley, is personally writing the blog today to share his thoughts about impacting others and the impact others have on him

People always say to me, “it’s amazing what you’re doing for kids and adults.”

I always say to them, “it’s amazing what those kids and adults teach me about life and how they truly inspire me.”

I’m moved by the actions of others all the time. It can be the determination a 3rd grader carries as he pedals a bicycle for the very first time. It might be an 8th grader that finds his ability to succeed on two wheels despite initially being scared of the journey. It very often is the corporate partner who embraces our vision or an individual donor who has philanthropic generosity to help us continue to grow Nine13.

When I founded the idea of Nine13, I was 23 and invincible. I knew I wanted to make a difference and make Indy better, but I never expected this city and the amazing people within it would mold me, change me, and constantly move my heart in ways I didn’t know possible.

Central Indiana is an amazing region. It’s filled with excitement, passion, endless possibilities, and a joint desire to innovate and grow. I don’t have traditional family here, I didn’t grow up here, I don’t have many of the traditional things that would tie me to this city and yet…I don’t have any intention of leaving.

working at the Special Olympics this past weekend

This past weekend, I had a blind Special Olympics athlete ride a bike for the first time as his coach wiped away tears from her eyes and as I wiped away tears from mine. Yesterday, we started our summer program at Boys & Girls Clubs of Indianapolis and I saw the excitement and wonder in the eyes of the youth as they ran towards our bicycles for the first time. Last month as we wrapped up our spring programs, I was able to highlight to students how much they had improved over the course of our program because they worked hard and gave their best effort.

I never know what to expect and what the day might hold for me: when a corporate partner is going to ask us to provide programs on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium, when a Foundation is going to support our programs in a school with a 99% free or reduced lunch population, how a student at a school might teach me more than I could ever teach them, or a moment that confirms I’ve hired a staff that shares my vision to make a difference and grow our programs.

I’ve poured my heart and soul into getting Nine13 off the ground and over the last year, I’ve been so humbled by how we’ve been embraced as we came into our own as a defining organization that thinks differently, operates differently, impacts differently, and is totally content to stand tall and be embrace being different.

A couple of weeks ago I sat down and did a video that shares the story of my unexpected path towards social entrepreneurship.

Anything is possible in Central Indiana, I’ve seen that first hand with the journey that Nine13 has taken; now it’s more important than ever to help the thousands of youth we work with every year also understand that this is a city where great things are earned and the potential to accomplish a vision is limitless.