When I was young, I had big dreams - dreams of building robots that would do my chores, of creating a mechanical horse that looked just like a real horse so I could own one even though I lived in the city. Clearly I was innovative. 

As I got older, my dreams changed to accommodate my talents. Early on, I felt an inspiration to write; a pull to deep interpersonal connections; a fascination with art, with music, with perspective, with truth and beauty. I couldn't read enough. I was drawn to people, to the stories that filled their eyes and calloused their fingers. 

Plans for the future hovered around these concepts. Wouldn't it be fun to own a coffee shop, a bookstore, a neighborhood restaurant? Wouldn't it be great to create content for a nonprofit? To put passion behind poetry or write a book that tried to make sense of my own strange story?

I wanted to DO something. To write, to talk, to listen in a way that made a difference, in a way that told the person next to me, you're not alone.

College kept me on this track. With a major in Writing and a minor in Psychology, I had the privilege of sitting in class day after day learning and writing stories, wrestling with perspectives, and analyzing truth in beauty. I was ready to take on the world, to learn and grow and find adventure. 

But something unexpected began to happen during my time at Indiana Wesleyan University. I started to miss my home.  

I grew up on the southside of Indianapolis. My parents have lived in the same home for almost 30 years. This tiny house, tucked away in a valley just south of Madison Avenue and Shelby Street, has been my heart for as long as I can remember.

It's where I learned to read, to ride a bike, to pump my arms and legs until I flew - swingset creaking and the sun on my face. It's where I started writing, where I fell in love with blue skies and breezy sunshine, where I learned the peace and power of the last few moments of daylight ... of bonfires at night. 

During visits home from college, I found myself captured by my home and my city in a new way. With the appreciation that comes with being absent, I explored Mass Ave, Fountain Square, and the City Market. I drove through the southside, and walked the property I grew up on. 

Just up the hill from my parents' house is the church I grew up attending. Just to the left of that building is a structure I have known as "The Lodge" my entire life. Built as part of a Boy Scout camp in the 60s, The Lodge has been a place for people to come and experience community with others, with nature, and with the city of Indianapolis since long before I was born. 

During its time as the primary building for Indianapolis Christian Fellowship (after they bought it in the 1970s), it served as a place for residents to gather and connect until a new main building was constructed. 

For me, growing up just down the hill and attending church there, The Lodge was where I went to hang out with my friends. It was where we held youth conferences and I met and connected with people from South Dakota, from Philadelphia, and from all over the Mid-West. 

I've slept there, eaten there, showered there. I've built and ended relationships there. I've cried and laughed there. I have learned painful lessons and beautiful truths there. 

And now, after graduating college, after living in New York for a year and a half, after finding adventure in all sorts of places, my dreams are coming true ... in a place that my heart loves. 

I get the incredible privilege of co-founding a community coffee shop in the very same building that holds so many of my memories - so many hours spent listening and telling stories, connecting to people through meaningful conversations.

This is my chance to give something to the city and the people that matter to me.

My chance to do something. To create a place for people to talk and to listen, to drink great coffee and look at great art, to enjoy a well-brewed tea while listening to well-played music. 

Never in a million years would I have imagined my dreams coming true in this way (and I used to think I was going to build robots), and the fact that I get to do it in a place that means so much to me ... for a city that means so much to me ... 

let's just say I'm a little bit excited. 

Starting a "for-benefit" coffeehouse comes with a definite set of challenges. The first of which is raising funds to be able to buy equipment, furniture, and supplies. Click below to see how you can help!