Cheers! and Thank You.

My name is Kevin Collins. I started The Iron Yard on March 21st as a student. I started again on July 20th as a teaching assistant and I now come to the end of my tenure this week. This is my parting thought:

Sitting in a team meeting on a rainy thursday afternoon, my thoughts suddenly drifted off on their own. Thoughts inspired by a wise individual who spoke a set of everlasting words. He spoke of his delight, of his joy, that what he was doing was worthwhile. How in the most basic aspects of things, he was having a hand in people’s lives. Little did he know that every syllable he uttered was creating an undying memory in my head.

People come to The Iron Yard and forever end up on a different path in life and he was directly influencing that path. He had a hand in helping people change their lives, for the better. He was guiding them through what often times seems like a dark tunnel with only the faintest of lights ahead. We come into The Iron Yard with aspirations and goals, with thoughts and hopes of different lives only a few months down the road and they are here to help make that the most unbelievable of realities.

I have sat silent quite often recently just reflecting on where I have come from and where I am going. I have thought about these incredibly passionate, persistent and patient mentors that are helping us reach that light at the end of the tunnel. You are helping us achieve those dreams. You are guiding us along this path to make us what we want to be. You are changing our lives.

As I type this, the current class only has a week left before they present all their hard work, their blood, sweat and tears to a swarm of potential employers and family members. They get to stand up in front of that crowd and hold their heads high with the knowledge that they have garnered throughout the course of time they have spent here with us. I can not express the amount happiness it provides me to know that I have been able to help them. I can truly say now that I understand those words that so nonchalantly came from his mouth.

So here it is… Thank You. Thank you Peter, Eric, John and Mason for building an environment that allows us to change our lives, to follow our passions and to help make our dreams realities. Thank you Nick, Calvin and Sally for being mentors, for helping us reach that light at the end, for never giving up on the ones who have wanted this and for the words you spoke that you had no idea affected us as much as they did. All of our lives are changed, for the better, because of you. While I am honestly sad my time with The Iron Yard is coming to an end, I know that I will carry these relationships/friendships for life. I am utterly and completely excited for my future and for the future of all these others. Here’s to the future friends, cheers.

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