December 26, 2019
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7 photos that capture a year of renewal

As we say goodbye to 2019, here are a few of the smiling faces and images of inspiration that make us excited for the next chapter.

Photo by Melanie Leigh Wilbur

In November, The Renewal Project traveled to Los Angeles to listen to local leaders, artists, and activists discuss the city’s most pressing challenges—and potential solutions. But the highlight of the day came when members of the Urban Voices Project choir led us all in song. These talented singers have all experienced homelessness. The love and inspiration they conveyed through their voices was a special way to mark our event. You can watch for yourself.

Photo courtesy of Horse SenseAbility

Instead of retiring, Polly Kornblith decided instead to pursue a labor of love and start a nonprofit called Horse SenseAbility. Horse SenseAbility is a therapeutic riding and horsemanship program specifically targeted at children and young adults who have experienced trauma, struggle with anxiety or depression, have autism spectrum disorder, or live in difficult circumstances.

Photo courtesy of Grow Dat Youth Farm

In New Orleans, food is inextricably connected to the city’s culture and identity. But in a city where there are wide disparities in neighborhood access to fresh food—especially for some of the city’s poorest residents—nonprofits like Grow Dat Youth Farm are filling in the gaps to provide access to healthy food for all residents. In February, they were named a finalist of the 2019 Renewal Awards.

Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for WE Day

Zeke Sumpter Ibarra was vice president of his school’s WE Club. After experiencing bullying, Ibarra helped to organize a “positivity takeover” at his school to help improve mental health and self-acceptance among his classmates. He spoke of this experience on stage with actor Neil Patrick Harris at WE Day California.

Photo by Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

A local resident of El Paso, Texas, installs an “El Paso Strong” sign at the makeshift memorial for victims of a shooting that left 22 people dead. Even amid an unthinkable tragedy, this photo reminds us of the power that we have to comfort our neighbors who are in pain.

Photo courtesy of The L.I.V.E. Outreach

Volunteers at The L.I.V.E. Outreach in Detroit show us what it means to live an extraordinary life. L.I.V.E.—an acronym for Learn to Innovate while creating Valiant, Extraordinary people—was designed to help local folks who had a rough start at life who could use a little guidance and essential tools to become a successful, productive adult. Founded by Malika Williams, a former foster kid, L.I.V.E. is an example of how grassroots organizing can inspire a community.

Photo by George Rose/Getty Images

This shot, from Glacier Point in Yosemite Valley, California, is just a beautiful image that we thought captures what we look forward to in 2020—another year of sky’s-the-limit ideas!