Creating a healthy community. Let’s work together, right now. 

Today was “Goverment Day” for our Leadership Thurston County group. We were visited my mayors, commissioners and other elected officials. We toured the State Capitol via a personal tour by a state representative. It was inspiring to hear from these committed, passionate leaders – all working to make our community a better place.

The wheels in my brain were turning all day. We have this many inspiring people working on better social services, climate change and afforable housing, and that is tremendous. And… I wonder what would happen if we had more people helping or we all focused our efforts on one issue?

I’ve read studies on “collective impact” where exactly that happens, the community comes together and actually “solves” a community problem. As a lifetime social service worker, “solving” a problem is a mind-blowing concept. Examples of this do actually exist like the Road Map Project out of South King County and Changing the Odds Salt Lake City. I want to know how.

In our community, we have a number of initiatives attempting to bring the community together like Thurston Thrives as well as many jurisdictions and organizations striving to improve community conditions. And that is awesome, and complicated and…not fast enough. Not fast enough for the homeless veteran sleeping in a doorway, the domestic violence victim who doesn’t have a place to stay in our town, or the young person who is moving to the next foster home. It’s just not enough.

I don’t know how people can go to Black Friday and care about sporting events when one of us, in our community is out in the cold tonight.

Someone called me a passionate nerd tonight and I guess they are right. I am passionate about our community. Every religion I am aware of says we should care for others, the sick, the poor. How are we doing with that America?

Imagine what would happen if we put down the remote control, big mac or beer and instead spend that time or money on something that helps the world. Guess what, in an age when antidepressants are doled out like candy and we “connect” via social media, helping others is exactly the medicine our society needs.

So what’s the hold up? Why aren’t there more people outraged by the living conditions of our homeless families? Is it because we are so desensitized by the media, or cable TV? Is it because there is a “that’s their problem” mentality? Or are we just so overwhelmed by the pace of our society that we just don’t have the capacity to help another human being?

I don’t know. But you can bet I will keep asking the question until I do. And keep working on a solution until there are enough warm homes, adequate food and hope on ther hearts of our community. That is the vision I hold, share this vision with me.

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