What is your name and where do you work?
My name is Calvin Eaton and I am the Founder/Executive Director of 540WMain Community Center in the Susan B. District.
What do you do in your work?
I lead, direct, and program all aspects of the center’s mission to be a safe, positive, & community oriented space committed to enriching the Susan B. Anthony District & connecting our neighbors to the greater Rochester community by providing programming and cultural events rooted in art, education, and holistic wellness.
What attracted you to doing your work?
Everything that I do today is powered by theglutenfreechefblog.com which I started in 2012, when I was severely ill. The journey to this space now is very long but to make it short I literally stumbled upon the brick and mortar space which is now 540WMain and due to the goodwill and support of community leaders and my family, I have been able to develop a community space for educational programs and events for all ages.
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
The most rewarding part of my work is when I see the results of bringing people together. Diversity and collaboration flourish, new friends are made, and new ideas are born. People feel a sense of belonging and peace with one another, no matter what story they come from.
How would you describe yourself?
I work hard, I’m passionate about what I do, and I care about people.
Why do you find meaning in community?
A strong community can give each individual a sense of purpose, a meaning in their own life. If everyone works together to make the community a better place to be in, everybody benefits.
What is one fact that some people don’t know about you?
I suffer from fibromyalgia, a chronic syndrome characterized by intense muscle and nerve pain. As I go about my busy everyday life, I manage this disease by eating healthy, drinking lots of water and maintaining my stress and inflammations as much as possible. Not everyone knows because I don’t let it slow me down.
If you could be any fruit, what would you be?
I would be an orange. Oranges have a thick skin for protecting what’s inside, and inside there are multiple slices that you can peel off and share with another person, making both parties healthier and happier as a result. I enjoy sharing my gift of bringing people together. We each have something positive inside of us that we can share with the world, making it a brighter, healthier place to be, and that is something I live for.