With the harsh reality of the new administration settling in, it is clear that bolstering our communities must be an inside job. This administration is busy bombing Syria, building up the military, exporting people, and cutting services.
At a time when our own citizens do not have enough food to eat and a decent place to live, this is depraved. In this hostile environment, keeping your head up and heart open is not easy. Communities that come together and lean on each other have a better shot at it.
People hunger to get together with others to socialize, to listen, and to be heard. Every community is rich in hidden resources waiting to be discovered and galvanized. Frequently gathering socially and with intention is the way to tap them.
There is an abundance of people with good hearts, intelligence, compassion, skills, and a willingness to extend themselves.
Take early childhood education, for example. People worked hard to develop this expertise but the pay does not reflect its value to children and families. There must be millions of early childhood experts in Chicago and Cook County. Let’s identify them and call them into service while making their life easy and rewarding in many other ways.
Let’s talk about nursing. There are millions of nurses and difficult working conditions are common. Sometimes the pay is not commensurate with the value and the profession often doesn’t command the respect that doctors enjoy. Let’s make nurses’ lives easier and more rewarding too.
Let’s talk about geeky teenagers. Do you know any? Do you know any seniors who are confused about their computers and the internet? Matching these resources would be easy and invaluable.
This is how we can bolster communities from the inside. My mission is to partner with congregations and communities to create opportunities to socialize frequently to galvanize existing resources so that all of us lead richer, fuller lives.
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