I am the founder and executive director of Granny’s House, a non-profit organization in the Douglass Park public housing development near downtown Columbia that has served public housing children for 15 years. Currently, about 80 percent of the enrolled children are from (mostly) African refugee families: Rwanda, Burundi, Congo, Tanzania, Liberia, Afghanistan, Yemen.
I am 65 (and a half!) and have lived in Boone County for almost 45 years. I came to Columbia from Kansas City in 1972 to attend Mizzou’s J-School and never left. I married the year after graduating and, early on, we decided that we wanted to raise our children here.
Columbia is such a giving community. There are a whole lot of people here who really care about the hurting and broken among us; helping and serving them seems to be part of our “genetic make-up” as evidenced by the many organizations that help people who might otherwise fall through the cracks.
The one thing I like that has changed in our community is, believe it or not, the addition of all the round-a-bouts! They make for a smoother traffic flow once you learn how to navigate them.
Columbia is very family-oriented, relatively safe and has a thriving arts and theater community. The Missouri Theater is a real gem! I love the parks and trails, and it’s a real foodie paradise! I am amazed by the many incredible restaurants and sweet shops right here in the city. If you want French pastries, there’s U Knead Sweets downtown. Homemade ice cream? You can head to Sparky’s. If Indian cuisine is your thing, there’s Taj Mahal, and, who doesn’t love Glenn’s Café for good old Southern comfort food?
But what I love most is the mosaic of people who have settled here. In the decades that Columbia has been our home, we’ve met and developed deep friendships with people from all over the world, and our lives are the richer for it.