It Has To Start Somewhere
During two recent interviews I was asked “Why? Why should people who don’t live in Milwaukee, who can’t walk into the UberDork Cafe when it opens back this project?” It occurred to me that it may be a good idea to share this with you all. It seems in all the excitement I may have overlooked that.
UberDork Cafe is more than just a cafe. More than just a place to game. More than just a place to learn. More than just a place for people like me and my daughters- the geeky, the nerdy, the dorky. It’s more than just the dream of one place. At the root, the dream is much bigger than that. It’s about nurturing a community.
I am fortunate to have always had a strong sense of self. From a really early age on, I knew who I was. I also knew that I didn’t quite fit in, but I was ok with that. Though it was not always easy, I have always proudly waved my geek/nerd/dork flag. Being a gnork was just a big part of who I was and am. It’s not based on a set of interests, there’s no test for it, there’s no cred or badge to earn or mark you are born with. If you are one, you just get it. Though “the geek shall inherit the earth” is a phrase most can get behind, there are many who still hide their lil flags. That hide who they are or downplay it because those around them wouldn’t get it.
No matter who you are, there comes a time, even just an instance, in all our lives where we feel like we don’t quite fit in. That there are people that may get parts of us, but not all of us. To feel truly understood is an amazing feeling. To have someone understand it all and nurture it is even more amazing.
Growing up, my parents accepted who I was. Which was a big help. But they will be the first to tell you that they never understood me. “You were just so different from us or your sister.” Being accepted and being nurtured are two very different things. The nurturing I received was at school, from teachers. I lucked out.
Now, we live in a time where programs are being cut left and right. Arts and extra curricular activities that are non athletic are the first to be affected by this. “Gifted and talented” programs are being eliminated, as are “accelerated” classes. Opportunities like I had are dwindling. It’s even worse in the inner cities. Many have never had these programs to begin with. So a cycle perpetuates from generation to generation.
Right now, in Milwaukee, in cities across this country, in a city close to YOU there are children and teens that need a place to go. A place that understands them. A place that supports them. A place that believes in them. There are parents that have lil gnorks of their own that are looking for places to take them to help nurture who they are. There are adults that want to have a place where they can wave their lil flags.
UberDork Cafe is that place.
I believe in my community. I believe in nurturing our inner gnorks and our future gnorks. I believe in providing a place that teens can affordably hang out at instead of the streets, or locked away in basements with their secret gnorky interests and dreams. Where they can meet other people who share their same interests. Where they can turn to in hopes of earning a scholarship that will continue to nurture their gnorky dreams. Scholarships that may lead to the person that develops your next favorite game, favorite comic book, favorite gadget that makes your life so much easier.
I believe in a place where kids can be kids. A place that parents can take them for fun classes that don’t cost an arm and a leg. A place where they can take classes with them. A place where people old and young can leave the world at the doorstep, walk inside and just be themselves. A place that reminds you of the importance of play. The importance of imagination. The importance of letting your flag fly.
We ALL need a place like that. It has to start somewhere- why not here?
And to all the people that have asked “When are you going to open one in…..” The answer is- let’s get this one open and successful. WHEN that happens, I promise you more.
It all has to start somehow, why not with $1.00? How much is your community worth to you?