Blog post written by Michael Rosales, President of Keep Andrews Beautiful and Community Outreach Coordinator with the City of Andrews.
“Opportunities don’t happen. You create them.” If you have never experienced what this quote is saying, then it might not make a lot of sense. But if you have…then this quote by Chris Grosser will make all the sense in the world. So what does this have to do with keeping our communities clean and beautiful? Well, stay with me ’til the end and you will not only know what these have in common…you will wonder why it took so long to see the connection.
The COVID-19 pandemic last year was witnessed across all spectrums. The greatest outcome was the spontaneity and creativity to adapt, change, and continue moving forward. No matter what the situation, no matter what the circumstances, no matter what the cost. We learned that success, survival, and stamina are each spelled the same: R-I-S-K!
It takes risk to start an organization, business, or any new thing for that matter. The story of Keep Andrews Beautiful is no exception. Around 2003 when a group of friends grew tired of seeing all the trash that seemed to constantly cover Andrews, they decided to do something about it. Soon after this decision, Keep Andrews Beautiful (KAB) became a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and later became an affiliate of Keep Texas Beautiful (KTB). I wasn’t even a citizen of Andrews at this time.
I asked one of the founders of KAB, who currently serves as Vice President on our board, to describe in one sentence her experience from inception to today. She said that her experience “has the potential to be really exhilarating, but is sometimes frustrating!” KAB was not just an opportunity that happened; it was created when a group of friends happened to be moved to action by their passion for Andrews.
When I moved to Andrews in 2005, I had no intention of being involved with local government or with nonprofit groups. I began working for the City of Andrews in 2014 and immediately fell in love with the work I was doing. I was hired to take care of our newly constructed truck route and to take care of all signs within the city. Every day I drove the truck route and drove around the city. One thing became clear: trash seemed to constantly cover Andrews. Opportunities don’t happen, you create them.
For every 20 to 30 ideas I threw at my new boss, maybe one of them would ripen and produce fruit. When driving the truck route one day, I remembered the signs I would always see on the highways that read, “Adopt-A-Highway.”
I asked my boss this question: “Can we do a program similar to TxDOT’s Adopt-A-Highway on our truck route?” I was not prepared for the answer that followed. Without hesitation, he just blurted out excitedly, “You should take over Keep Andrews Beautiful!” Definitely not the answer I was expecting!
So in September of 2018, I became the affiliate coordinator for KAB. In 2019, I was offered a newly created position with the City. I took it and became the City’s first Community Outreach Coordinator. With the reemergence of KAB’s board of directors, I was named as President. In just a few years, KAB has gone from being on probation to Gold Star status as a KTB affiliate! And to top it off, we were named KTB’s Affiliate of the Month for February!
The creativity to adapt, change, and continue moving forward is how you create opportunities. No matter what the political or economic condition, don’t ever stop dreaming, learning, or being your best! Keep Andrews Beautiful exists today because a few friends then, and a few friends now, chose to act on behalf of the passion and longing that stirs deep in the heart of every soul.
Opportunities don’t happen. You create them!