Country girl arrives in Chicago alone

Some men see things as they are and ask ‘Why?’ I dream things that never were and ask, ‘Why not?’
– Robert F. Kennedy, 1968

Terry Edlin

I moved to Chicago, from JoDaviess County, Illinois in 1970 at age 19, not knowing a soul, as naive as a country girl could be. Having my family a short bus or train ride home gave me the courage to take the plunge. I worked mostly at office jobs and in outside sales. Growing up in Chicago and taking public transportation for 38 years, I’ve seen a lot. Having worked with many single moms over the years, I marveled that they showed up for work day in and day out, no matter what was going on at home. Sam Fusco, one of my bosses often commented that single mothers were the best employees because they really needed the job. I inwardly wept for these women and their dogged determination to do their best for their children, and wracked my brain for a solution that would provide a better foundation and a bit of breathing room in their lives.

The best employee? Single mothers. They really need the job.

– Sam Fusco

Mulling this situation over for many years, I finally concluded that cooperatives offer an excellent shot at addressing multiple problems on many levels. I have distilled this belief into New Community Vision, planting the seeds for cooperative living, with the goal of providing the framework for gatherings to take place community by community, month after month, with focused intention, to co-operatively brainstorm for solutions to the challenges that all of us face every day. People are smart and resourceful and I see awakening consciousness everywhere I look. By gathering regularly to support each other, we will harness the energy, intelligence and heart inherent in each of us and in each of our communities. The beauty of this formula is that each community solves its own challenges. New Community Vision merely provides the model for the gatherings to take place.

The ideas presented in this website seem to me to be logical, feasible solutions to the problems of housing, child care, elder care, food, nutrition, jobs, transportation, isolation, and much more. The various sketches of possible co-ops are merely conceptual at this point. They may or may not pan out for a given person or group. The point is for groups of individuals to brainstorm, generating as many creative ideas as possible without regard to feasibility or fundability. Discuss the ideas, consider them after the discussion, talk informally between gatherings, and meet again the next month to brainstorm again. Eventually, the best ideas will rise to the top, the persons for whom they have meaning will get behind them, and the needed resources will materialize.

Woody Allen said that 80% of success in life is just showing up. Cooperatives are no different. When anything works in life, it is because people lived their commitment. Cooperatives require a commitment to something that is outside of, and greater than, yourself. Cooperatives work when people realize that the greater good occasionally trumps self interest.