It’s hard to believe six months have passed since our Teaching Artist Jess Finney announced her decision to participate in the Swim. Bike. Run. Try. YWCA of Minneapolis Women’s Triathlon, raising funds for Upstream Arts. The big day is coming up this Sunday, August 12, and Jess is going strong–she’s already completed a practice run of the full triathlon and is less than $400 away from her $2000 goal!

It’s been pretty incredible to follow Jess on her training blog throughout this process, as she documents everything from trepidation over private swimming lessons to ways her work with Upstream Arts has fueled her training, and vice versa. Today, she posted a new blog entry titled “Community, Part Three”  that pours through all the many people who have inspired her throughout this journey, eventually leading to a reflection on why she’s doing a triathlon in the first place:

I am blessed with all of these members of my community, but what seals the deal for me is that I am blessed to share experiences with people/friends of all abilities. The mission of Upstream Arts is to enhance the lives of adults and youth with disabilities by fostering creative communication and social independence through the power of arts education. We believe that the arts are uniquely suited to act as a tool to teach and learn the complicated nuances of social interaction and communication; and that artistic experiences nurture growth, leading to individuals who are better able to live, work and make positive contributions to our society.

Since I began working with Upstream Arts, I have seen the direct impact of the arts on the lives of the individuals we serve. I have also seen the direct impact of this work on my life. I truly believe that I am better able to live, work and make positive contributions to our society because of this work. 

We feel blessed to have outstanding Teaching Artists who care so deeply and work diligently toward making the world a better place. Thank you, Jess, for everything you’ve given to this mighty feat. We’re rooting for you!