Community. It's more than a word that's been mentioned in this space dozens of times over the past many years. It's both an identification and a dynamic. We can all be living in proximity to one another and therefore in a community, but are we interacting as a community?
In our county, as with most others, there are many meetings held on a regular basis. Some are for planning. Some are for information sharing. Some are open to the public. Some are not. It's all part of making things work, be it for a specific group, a town, the county, or the community as a whole.
A few years back, I realized I was attending too many meetings--all of them useful--and my calendar was mostly those dates. I had to step back and prioritize, and frankly, when you want to do it all, prioritizing isn't very exciting. It goes back to a quote noted here in the past, by Thoreau: "It's not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are you (we) busy about?"
A couple of the meetings I attend bring together "providers" from various agencies, organizations and public services in order to coordinate resources and streamline access. In these meetings we are busy about people. People who need some help, information, or advocacy. It's about community and how we can make it work.
Whether we're from a state agencies, hospitals, Fire Departments, clinics, care giving agencies, legal assistance, mental health services, long-term care facilities, food banks, volunteer groups, or whatever--the common ground is people. Community. Connecting what is available to who is in need.
Admittedly, sometimes it may look ants milling about, but at least we are connecting in order to be part of and support the idea and dynamic of community. These people are dedicated to helping--always a good thing.
Even though, as noted, various agencies are represented, the important thing is not if we're from DSHS, Home & Community Services, O3A, or EMT services, it's that we all want to see things work, improve and be successful.
(As an aside, of course being from one of the aforementioned groups is important to those who belong to said group. However, when people are in need, the concern about whether help comes via a state agency or a volunteer group is not the greatest concern. The greatest concern in getting the help needed.)
As the year is ending, I want to call out to the community at large and let you (us) know that you (we) are part of that community entity. And together--all of us--make it work.
We at I & A are just one part, and we can help connect you with any or all the others if you're not sure where to start.
So thanks to the entire community for being there in 2017. Thanks for caring. Thanks for working the work. All of this together is what really helps people.