“making your communities stronger and helping prevent alcohol & substance abuse”

I mentioned getting a gift basket in yesterday’s post, the title of this post is from the note included in that basket.

“Thank you for your dedication to making your communities stronger and helping prevent alcohol & substance abuse”

You are welcome!  I embrace this thank you!  Because I know it’s true!  Okay I have to make an “i’m not arrogant disclosure here”, I’m not being arrogant it is true. 

See SCVRJP DOES engage community members. 

“stenghten the community” It’s a great prevention mantra and a great goal of many agencies – to be community partners, to be accessed by the community.  Yet – – what happens is that it stops at “clients”.  Because if people make up a community, then serving people, means you’ve engaged the community.  To me, community means bystanders.

Does a school do a good job at community engagement, just because parents come in the building.  Not in my opinion.  Can they bring in local artists, local business owners, what about community members on the fringe.  I heard of classroom program that adopts a single Mom and infant.  Mom and child visit the classroom and the kids practice and learn empathy by watching baby’s face, for cues.  Happy, sad, frustrated.  That’s just another example.

It strengthens community when you change peoples lives.  Not just the lives of your ‘service recipients’ the lives of your volunteers, your board members, the people who you pass in the building.

I was out socially recently.  Having a few beers one of the men in the group was pretty outspoken.   He finally said something like “you can stop recruiting anytime”.  He was teasing a bit, but it was funny because it was true.  See I have learned that telling you about Restorative Justice is great, you can catch my enthusiasm.  Get you in a session – it changes you.  You never really understand it until you’ve been part of it.  That’s how you make a community stronger, person by person regardless of who the person is or what other communities they might be part of.

We all have multiple communities.  For me, professional network in River Falls community.  I  have a community of RJ pracition friends, I have a facebook, twitter community.  I have a basketball Mom community, a few good friends community.  I feel like I am in a community with teachers, since I do so many trainings with them.  I am in a single Mom community – only those of us doing that day in and day out get to understand that.  Being a single woman is another community.

Basically we need to embrace that we are all part of one overall larger connected community.  Victims, offenders, board members, strangers on the street and people who say yes to my grant requests – they could cross into anyone of my communities.  Just like you – we share multiple communities, and everyone we touch – touches someone else.

Make your community stronger, by being stronger.