Dayton Local contributor Joyell Nevins shares her thoughts about the Gem City, following her recent move from Dayton to San Diego.
Greetings from SoCal! I have traded cornfields for beaches, and flat expanses for mountainous regions in my recent move from Dayton to San Diego, California. And different is good, but it doesn’t necessarily mean better.
When I tell people here I’m from central Ohio, a common response is, “oh, you’ll love how much there is to do here!” As in, I must have just sat at home bored back where I came from. But they don’t know the Gem City like I do.
One of the things I loved most about Dayton was the great variety of activities available and causes to get involved in. It’s not a thriving metropolis, but so many of the people who do populate Dayton are committed to living fully! To embracing whatever their passion is.
The last week before I left, I was trying to decide how to spend those last few days – and there were so many options! Shoes for the Shoeless was giving out new shoes to hundreds of low-income kids at a community festival; in Miami County and then Montgomery County, organizations were coming together to bring Hope Over Heroin.
Art in the City was kicking off its last downtown Dayton summer event. Or I could travel a little south to Middletown and participate in a hot air balloon festival and national competition! And those were just the ones at the top of my personal list.
You want art? You want music? You want nature? Dayton’s got it. You want quirky coffee shops? Restaurants that survive off the chain? Dayton’s got it. You want street festivals, community gardens, farmer’s markets? Dayton’s got that, too. And new endeavors are always cropping up.
Groups like UpDayton, Culture Works and the still young Dayton Performing Arts Alliance are such great examples of people coming together from different backgrounds and groups to work towards a common goal. Dayton may have a smaller population and resource base to work from than many major cities, but there is definitely a sense of collaboration and exploration in the Gem City. I see people willing to try new ideas and incorporate new ways in pursuit of their final vision!
Dayton has taught me that you don’t have to be a big name or look flashy to make a difference. That it’s not about your status, it’s about your heart. And I honor those Daytonians who continue to make their city great!