by Carol Taylor
I was recently approached by Betty (not her real name), a woman in our community who stated, “Carol, my friends and I write checks all over town. We’re tired of just writing checks. We want to give with meaning and get involved.”
I have watched this transformation occur frequently over the past four years as I have been involved in Bridges Out of Poverty work. People recognize that their financial contributions are important, yet they want to get involved with their time as well. The challenge can become finding creative ways for a variety of people to be engaged in the process. Betty and I had a great brainstorming session that day that resulted in new ideas for ways to engage members of the community in a community development program.
We now have a local businesswoman who is particularly concerned with health preparing and delivering the snack to one of the Getting Ahead classes. She is enjoying the opportunity to get to know the class participants.
We have a retired accountant who is going to work in a small group with Getting Ahead graduates to create a workable and honest budget. He will meet with them monthly to talk about what’s working and what’s not.
We have a recently retired woman in town who is gathering a few of her friends to teach people how to can food this summer. The group will provide all of the canning supplies, and we will provide fresh produce that has been grown in our community garden plot.
We have a local group of community members that is collecting coupons for us and delivering them to me two times per month. They enjoy the conversation they have while clipping the coupons, and the Getting Ahead class members and graduates enjoy looking through them.
Bridges provides so many opportunities for people to be engaged in meaningful ways. In addition to impacting education levels, income levels, hiring practices, predators, resources, etc., I find it crucial to be creative with ways for people to get involved that lead to community change.
Who’s getting involved in your community? Tell us your successes!
Carol Taylor is employed at Hope House in Findlay, OH as the Bridges Coordinator. Carol has been a certified Bridges trainer since June 2009 and is an author of one of the chapters in the book Vision To Action. She says the greatest compliment she receives is, “Your passion about this work is very obvious.”