With the holiday season now officially underway, we are continuing the conversation on being involved in the community through ideas, action, and support. Last week we focused on the importance of ideas, and this week we’ll look at action and support, which feels especially relevant right after Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is many things to different people, but I have always believed that it should be a day of literally, tangibly giving thanks - physically demonstrating our gratitude to others in some form or fashion. For some of us that might mean making a hearty meal to share with our families, or, making and delivering food to those who might not have families. It might mean reaching out and letting people know we appreciate them, or, lending a hand where it’s needed.
This way of thinking about Thanksgiving has always highlighted for me that action and support are intertwined. When we act to show our gratitude, we support others, either physically or emotionally, and oftentimes both. When others act to show their gratitude, we feel supported. It’s also a wonderfully self-perpetuating cycle, because when we feel supported, we feel more capable of acting in the benefit of others. It also just plain feels good when we are surrounded by gratitude and possibility, and we like to keep those good feels flowing.
So, how can you get in on this feast of good feelings? The first step is to decide what you love and how it relates to what is going on around you, and then you can offer to help in a specific way. For example, it’s much more helpful to say “I had a great crop of pie pumpkins and I love to bake; shall I make the pie this year?” than it is to ask “what would you like me to cook?” We have redevelopment projects lined up relating to everything from agriculture to additive manufacturing, so if you have a skill or passion you’d like to share, chances are we have a volunteer opportunity for you! Be honest and realistic with yourself about what you want and have time to do to help your community, and then be specific with us about how you’d like to be actively involved.
Sometimes we don’t have the time or energy to physically do something to help out, though, and that’s where other support roles come in. The power of a kind word cannot be overstated; I don’t know anyone who doesn’t enjoy being acknowledged and appreciated, and it is one of the fastest ways to nurture a sense of community. Funding is always tight in this world, too, so you can always donate money to redevelopment projects. Right now, we could use funding for the school farm, for arts projects, to bring a new community learning space into the Valley, and to support additional staff positions in the redevelopment program. Large or small, donations fill in the gaps between grants and keep momentum going while we are rebuilding local financial resilience.
Checking out our website at acrivervalley.org is a great first step to get involved in local redevelopment. Stay current on projects and opportunities, donate, or tell us what’s on your mind. For now, thank YOU for being interested in the well-being of our community, enjoy those Thanksgiving leftovers, and I’ll see you next week!