We had the good fortune of connecting with Marnie Grodzin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Social impact: how does your business help the community or the world?
Making a social impact isn’t as challenging or overwhelming as some may think. I live by the pebble in the pond metaphor. One small action creates ripples that may spread far and wide. Gathered and Grounded opened it’s doors in April 2018 with the intention to provide behavioral health support to youth and those who care for them. Why “those who care for them”? Once again, the ripple effect. If we support ALL people, communities can become healthier and welcoming to ALL. Over the last couple of years, Gathered and Grounded has held space for personal celebrations, workshops supporting all ages and levels of health, has mobilized space to welcome communities during times of crisis, created fun and fantastic gatherings to support social health and much more. After two years, I have come to the conclusion, “If it’s legal and fits within who we want to support, then we can talk about having it here.” I would like to believe Gathered and Grounded’s physical space as well as virtual space makes an impact on levels ranging from the individual, to the family, and to the community. If Gathered and Grounded gives an individual the space to show up as they are, not feeling they need to hide behind a mask, a facade, then that is the social impact I would be grateful for Gathered and Grounded to be known for. When we as individuals can be authentic and real, we open ourselves to others and that openness comes back to us. So I guess I could say, Gathered and Grounded’s physical and virtual space is the pebble in the pond that supports people in living an authentic, true and real life.
What should our readers know about your business?
I don’t feel like I run a business, it’s more of holding space for those who may need some. Prior to opening Gathered and Grounded, I held space for others by offering an ear. I offered opportunities to be heard and witnessed. I continue to do so, but now I have the physical space for people to come and experience that space for themselves and offer it to others. Having the physical space, managing social media, programming, networking and paying the bills is not easy, but it feeds my soul. Gathered and Grounded’s doors have been closed since March 12th when the community shut down due to Covid. It’s been tough. I went through a period of mourning. I had felt Gathered and Grounded was just getting some solid roots in the ground and big things were on the horizon. If there is one lesson I have learned and try to live by in life, trite as it may sound, when doors close, others will open. Those doors may not open as quickly as I would like them to, but with doses of patience, faith and hope I know they will. My life motto is, Connecting People and Building Bridges, and if I can do this on a daily basis, it feels like waking up on Christmas morning.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Wow! Atlanta has so much to offer! Now that I’m in the later half of my life (47), I live it much differently compared to when I was younger. When a friend visits from out of town there are definitely musts! Anything along the Chattahoochee River (tubing, Chattahoochee Coffee House in Vinings, East Palisades Trail)
I love coffee more than anything. Some of my favs are: Wallers Coffee Shop, Kavarna, Dancing Goats in Decatur, Chocolate Coffee and Chattahoochee Coffee in Vinings. Eddy’s attic for Singer Songwriter Night. Bike riding to include the Beltline, a mural tour, Ponce City Market and Krog Street Market.
I’m not a big shopper, but SqFt Decatur, Homegrown, The Beehive, Kudzu and any thrift stores are my spots. . And, I can’t forget the Georgia Mountains! Oh wait and Serenbe and hiking Stone Mountain are great too! So many great places as I always tell my friends and family they need to come back for another visit!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
If you are talking credit due to allowing Gathered and Grounded to exist then we might be here awhile. I know what and who have influenced me to have the guts and ability to open Gathered and Grounded. One person, for a variety of reasons, is Jane Goodall. One of the quotes I live by comes from her, “I like to envision the whole world as a jigsaw puzzle… If you look at the whole picture, it is overwhelming and terrifying, but if you work on your little part of the jigsaw and know that people all over the world are working on their little bits, that’s what will give you hope.” Additionally, I need to include my Grandma Dot for the revolutionary choices she made in her life along with her perseverance and giving heart. The amazing coworkers I have had over the years. Buddhism Dharma. Ted Talks. The various mental health professionals who have given support to my own mental health which as brought me to where I am today. Truly every life experience.
Other: Look for Kind Movement: https://www.gatheredandgrounded.com/look-for-kind https://www.instagram.com/lookforkind/
First image of me on the sofa: octaviaelease.com