There’s Only So Much You Can Control

by Elizabeth Garcia
September 5, 2014

Elizabeth Garcia '15 is working at the Healthy Communities Office for the City of Providence through the iProv Summer Internship Program.

This summer, I worked on two projects including the Summer Meals Program and the Cyclovia Providence Series. The Summer Meals Program gives free meals to children at various parks, and the Cyclovia Providence allows individuals to bike, skate, walk, and integrate themselves in the community by learning about organizations at the event.

I assisted with the Summer Meals Program by promoting the program and composing a survey that would evaluate the program. However, my main project was the Cyclovia Providence Series. I assisted with two of the three Cyclovia events, which included recruiting organizations, recruiting volunteers, publicizing the event, and creating an event that was as successful as possible.

The first Cyclovia was on Broad Street on June 29th, and I only had 2 weeks to prepare for it. It was fairly successful and fun to see it come together, and once the first Cyclovia was over, I had about a month to prepare for the second one.

My greatest lesson from organizing these Cyclovia Series was that I could plan an event as much as possible and it could still not go as planned. As much I believed to have control, it only went so far. I learned this lesson when planning the second Cyclovia on Broadway. I did exactly what I had done for the first Cyclovia, but 10 fold! I wanted to make this event better than the last, and I felt that a way to do so was to inform individuals about the event properly. I decided to compose a street closing letter with an attached flyer and send it to about 800 individuals in the neighborhood Cyclovia was going to be held in. I also gathered many more vendors than before and promoted the event through all possible outlets. I really wanted this Cyclovia on Broadway to be a hit, and I did all that I could to make it successful.

The week of the event, I decided to check the weather for that Sunday, the day of the event. At the beginning of the week, there was a 40% chance of rain, but as I kept checking throughout the week, the chance of rain decreased to 30% - increasing my hope that the event would still occur. On that Sunday morning, it was initially sunny but as 11 AM approached, an hour prior to the event, it began to get dark and cloudy. By 11:30 it was pouring and my supervisor decided to call off the event.

As soon as we cleared up the street, my supervisor took me home. Upon entering my room, I felt upset to know that all my efforts ended with no outcome. It was a lesson in disguise that I now greatly appreciate. It took this large event and all my hard work to finally understand that I don’t have control over everything and nor should I expect to have control over everything.

In the end, the event was rescheduled for mid-August. I did all that I had done before, and Cyclovia on Broadway ended very well!