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What’s Happening?

Paper People

A note about the work I have been doing for the last several weeks:

C. E., I am so pleased that you asked me once again to be an exceptional reader for your grant evaluation process. I enjoyed this experience and learning all about the volunteer work on behalf of children in our state. Thank you for taking the time to remember me and asking for my analysis. I felt like a detective searching for hope and successful outcomes on behalf of children.

It does my heart good to think of all the volunteers who put in endless hours promoting the welfare of our children. It is exciting to think that we know why the teen birth rates, trauma rates, gang violence, and dropout rates are falling. We need to sing the praises of the entire network efforts, all the council’s efforts, and our legislature’s foresight in creating these grants.

This year as I approached the process  I discovered a new sadness, that the funding had been reduced and will be diminished once again and that so many  good efforts, programs, and outcomes might not be possible. Then I read the reports a second time and when I had put my sorrow on the shelf I began to see all the love and energy that still would be initiated and followed through on by these wonderful networks of volunteers. Several of the reports were so full of love and positive energy; one knew they would still succeed in producing positive outcomes for their children. Many of the networks have learned how to leverage their funding, train new volunteers and leaders, and bring out the best in their communities.

One of the reports made me so sad and angry it took me several days to complete it. After I stopped wanting to punish those people, I was able to see that some children did benefit from their programs. I could complete the process only by letting go of my hope for the children in need. I also think that networks need more skill in dealing with groups which create brick walls. I was delighted when L. P. from your board shared with me that the specific network I was concerned about was busy learning new strategies and detours in dealing with their stop signs. Oh how lucky we are to be able to learn new paths and directions — flexible in our experience and endeavors.

Re-localization is such a powerful tool .These boards, these networks, these volunteers make me feel so proud of my state and all the hopes and dreams for our children — may they come true.

My favorite quotes:

“This is a community that really steps up to challenges and comes together… we are very creative in solving problems.”

“We are looking beyond the indicators to the causes.”

“While such confidence is a strength, it also leaves us vulnerable to reality, particularly to the manner in which problem behaviors are exacerbated by economics stressors.”

“We are a story telling people, — we collaborate and don’t compete — that’s one of our core values.”

“This community ’hit its stride’ and stepped up to the commitment.”

“Developing young people who care about communities because they know those communities need them and care about them is a prerequisite of a sustainable healthy community.”

“This community has not had a high school dropout in 10 years.”

As I travel this state and see some of the results of all these efforts  I smile, because I know at that particular school there are dozens of parents signing up for parenting classes and coming back for more, that this senior health/daycare clinic is staffed by teens who truly care,  that youth in this region want to help their peers stay in school and break the alcohol cycle and that the reduction of violent youth crime is happening because of early invention and new successful options from the juvenile justice system.

The FP council for the state deserves a huge round of applause. I honor the work and energies that you produce and recognize how difficult it is to address the needs of 38 network groups and their diverse problem-solving communities; building tools and resources that they need.  With such grace and fortitude, you greet each challenge that comes your way and with great finesse you are witness to incredible outcomes on behalf of our children. Thank you for your hard work. Thank you for so many successes.


Do you know how your community is volunteering?  Are schools being empowered to meet the needs of this century for your youth?  Who offers oversight and tools of learning?  What are the strategies that work in your community?

Related Reading:
If you do not have anything thing nice to say, say nothing at all
People are often unreasonable
Agenda for a New Economy

26 Responses to “What’s Happening?”

  1. Deborah Says:

    Powerful words and thoughts Patricia. In my part of the world I didn’t think I knew much about what is going on in the community beyond what I see. Then I had a phone call asking me to answer a survey about policing and help in the local community. What would I know about that these days? I am glad I agreed to take part though because as the questions went on, I was amazed at how much I did know.
    Since that survey, I have taken more of an interest in what is going on around me and I applaud those people who do so much more than I.
    “What’s happening” struck a chord with me. Thank you.
    .-= Deborah´s last blog ..The Man-Mountain Sheriff and Me =-.

    Patricia Reply:

    Getting the actual work done is usually up to just a few folks, but creating public awareness and knowledge is vital for keeping a community growing, communicating and strong.

    I heard a young architect describe our community’s history as that of Native American fishing stopover….Ignorance of this community is showing….The Native American’s considered this bay a place to bury their dead – sacred turf….and that is why there is not great development at the connection to the rivers…then the British and American people have always used this bay as a release and return/ storage point for war ships…battle ships and now striker tanks….these two facts have shaped our community over it’s history….without knowing that the lecturer and the new building design looks pretty awful to locals…

    I am glad that this sharing touched base with you….it is important work that too often goes un noticed.

  2. vered | blogger for hire Says:

    Many people here in the busy Silicon Valley choose to volunteer their money instead of their time. I see it as a legitimate choice – they still care enough to give.
    .-= vered | blogger for hire´s last blog ..Personally I find Fall Depressing =-.

    Patricia Reply:

    Volunteering with their money is a vital part of the change pyramid. The work would not proceed and problems would not get solved without the largest group in the volunteering/ helping community being the folks who give money….

    One of the things that was apparent to me is that the youth councils are busy learning how to write grants to assist their peers in achieving success and health.

    Awareness and education within a community is the second tier of the format.
    David Eggers the writer is a prime example of how this works in the SF area….Do you know his work with children? He won a TED grant for his efforts.

  3. Jannie Funster Says:

    “It is exciting to think that we know why the teen birth rates, trauma rates, gang violence, and dropout rates are falling.’ That’s AWESOME!!

    Sounds like you got a great deal out of this, and a lesson from one group in particular. Something you could really sink your teeth into.

    What strategy works best in my local community? LOVE!! In all its many forms of giving and understanding, most often manifested in dealing between 2 individuals, then emmanating outwards exponentially. Each of us holds amazing love power.

    .-= Jannie Funster´s last blog ..Poetry Book Giveaway – whoo hooooo =-.

    Patricia Reply:

    Love is a powerful force in helping change to happen. It is still what actions we take to create change that builds more love and new definitions of love…

    These children are our future…and they need to be prepared for the future…I think these grants showed tremendous wisdom from our State Legislature.

  4. Barbara Swafford Says:

    Hi Patricia,

    I commend you for your continued efforts to make your State a better place, especially for the children. It’s people like you who work tirelessly behind the scenes who don’t get credit, but go that extra mile anyway.

    A huge pat on the back for your dedication to great causes.

    And ((hugs)) too. :)
    .-= Barbara Swafford´s last blog ..Ouch! That Hurt! =-.

    Patricia Reply:

    Being able to see that we can break the cycle of abuse and drug problems – that sense of despair is so exciting.

    I believe I learned that I can find a new way to be resourceful and assist by evaluating these grants; I do not think I have the health or energy to be in the field any more. It does make me feel proud that it appears I have given the the world three very talented insightful workers – who have dedicated their talents and energies to making the world a bit better right in their own neighborhoods.

    Thank you….I am so tired the week after…I can certainly use those hugs!

  5. Hilary Says:

    Hi Patricia .. I’m ashamed to say .. I know nothing about volunteering behind the scenes – perhaps without kids I had no understanding .. and have never been in that network of society – I suspect if I had .. I’d have done quite a lot.

    Though I can see now in these times .. this is going to become even more important – to help ourselves and help others .. I can see I’ll be around to open doors for people, once I have more time. I’m working and thinking in that direction – though can’t be active for now.

    I admire what you do .. and one day – hope to get a chance to see .. look after yourself .. have a great weekend .. Hilary
    .-= Hilary´s last blog ..Tales- Sagas- Stories we can glean from our vegetables =-.

    Patricia Reply:

    These grants are specifically for the children and teens, but our community is working on grants for elder care also and giving the caregivers some relief too…

    I think your learning right now in your life how to be a resource and administer something like these grants in your future.

    I am saddened that we must here have to write these grants…because we have to make trickle down economics work for us….and if we keep supporting factory worker mentality in our children they will not be prepared to be capable in this world.

  6. suzen Says:

    Hi Patricia!
    Many hugs and pats on the back for all you do! I think most of us pale in comparison. I live in Camelot. Most of the residents don’t even know there IS a food pantry, let alone any “needs”. There is generosity though, once needs have been brought to the mass attention.

    Patricia Reply:

    I am sure the NEEDS are there…big time….and that your community responds when they discover a need…bravo Now some one needs to be the detective to get the needs out in the open….everyone will feel better…

    It is like discovering the two schools with out computers for their students….pointing that out….and working on getting a response, because the teachers and principal do not have time…and there is not a tradition of Camelot parents in those neighborhoods….parent education is a huge part of what they spend their time on…

    Immigrant parents often do not speak the language or understand how a school functions in this country and they are struggling with food and health care issues…

    Just takes calling forth the good news.

  7. Barbara Says:

    “We are a story telling people, — we collaborate and don’t compete — that’s one of our core values.”

    I love this quote! To me, competition is part of that “every man for himself” approach to life, but cooperation, collaboration, mutuality and interdependence are, to me, very important core values, part of a “we’re all in this together” way of living our lives.

    Your work sounds very rewarding. Currently I’m so involved with family elder-caregiving that I have no idea what programs are at work in my community. I look forward to the day when I can start exploring the opportunities to pitch in with community volunteering.
    .-= Barbara´s last blog ..First Snow =-.

    Patricia Reply:

    You are gaining volumes of information doing elder care right now…and protecting yourself as you age….you are garnering lots of seeds of knowledge to assist in making change in your community.

    Elder care is exhausting work, no matter how loving and related it is….you are learning how the systems work and how to advocate.

    The truth is if my husband dies first, there will be no elder care for me….. and if we make it a number of years hence we will probably kill ourselves from lack of funds and exhaustion…

    How we as individuals and as a community care for each other is so vital….life giving…

    Here’s a hug for you and please take care of yourself first.

  8. Talon Says:

    It’s amazing that when effort is applied, when people look beyond their immediate space to the neighborhoods, to the cities and beyond, with volunteering of time or money, that great differences can be made. It’s sad that some of the richest countries in the world still struggle to prioritize that which is really important for funding and development.
    .-= Talon´s last blog ..An Anchromatic Softening =-.

    Patricia Reply:

    It is amazing to me too, how the richest struggle with what to do with their energies….be that money, time, or even education.

    The volunteering after WWII was incredible and the changes that were made in that recovery were filled with incredible spirit and understanding….

    Librarian Girl’s generation is the second largest group of volunteers the USA has experienced….and then 3 years later came along the Meanest group – what a record to hold! – then the bling group and that led to the Greed group…

    Roots are important and very functional….

  9. Evelyn Lim Says:

    I second what Barbara Swafford has said. Volunteering time takes love and patience. And you’ve got plenty to give and share.

    I started volunteering my time last year and then, had to stop this year due to some personal challenges. However, I hope to start again next year. While donating money is easy, time is something far more precious.

    Patricia Reply:

    Volunteering is very rewarding and fulfilling…especially if that is part of what you do best….time, knowledge and skill are some of my best resources…

    Money is equally as important a resource and if that money was produced by doing something that a person is called to do…wow what a gift….the circle moves forward….there is a progression.

    Right now I think lots of people are motivated by fear, leading to grabbing and hoarding….as we go through this paradigm change it is very uncomfortable…the folks with money seem to be buying our resources ….forming a resistance movement to change.

    I am excited that so many folks are still working and giving.

  10. Meredith Says:

    Patricia, how wonderful that the work you are doing is having such a positive effect in the world! I know it is easy to despair when we see how our favorite charities are struggling in the wake of the financial crisis. Just when the donations are most needed, they are drying up. It can be disturbing.

    As for what my community is doing, I continue to be amazed that such a small town has so many resources for outreach, tutoring, and after-school programs. The people here are so committed to their community. I volunteer now tutoring one child who has fallen behind her grade level. Her background is depressing indeed (mother on drugs, father in jail for long portions of her childhood), but her determination to catch up with her peers and learn is inspiring!
    .-= Meredith´s last blog ..standby =-.

    Patricia Reply:

    How lovely to find you here this morning, welcome back! and thank you for your lovely comment.

    Hip Hip Hurray for your tutoring efforts…what a difference you will make…Thank you.

    I wanted to bring about awareness and get the word out…because with a bit of seed money and knowledge the communities in our State are building a better place – I wish I could figure out what these children will be doing in 10 years/ 20 years….maybe I will be around to see?

  11. Chris Edgar Says:

    Hi Patricia — I can definitely feel how purposeful and motivated you are when it comes to your volunteer work and it’s definitely inspiring to me to see people with that sense of direction whenever I’m going through an uncertain period.

  12. Patricia Says:

    I have never had a problem finding volunteer work to do…I do have some envy for those who are able to do global work and make a difference in the world….I look at Dr. Paul Farmer, Greg Mortensen, and Bill Gates and how the funds flow to their work and efforts. Yes, they each do lots of fund raising, but there is a flow because of their good works…and knowledge.

    I try to think “bloom where you are planted”

    I wish I could make money flow and some into my pockets!!! I wanted to share what the folks are doing here in an uncertain period…

  13. Farouk Says:

    nice post
    thank you for sharing it :)

    Patricia Reply:

    I will be over to read your words soon…sorry it took me a few days to say thank you, we are having power outages and heavy rain here – even an earthquake.

    Thank you for your kind words

  14. Robin Easton Says:

    Dear Patricia,

    I am moved to tears by this and who you are. Your depth of GENUINE caring is just so astounding that I feel profoundly humbled in your presence.

    I am deeply moved by all that you are doing. And you ARE making a difference. You set an astounding example for the rest of us and the world, by your actions. You are the real deal. I have sensed this deep level of concern and caring on your blog many times. It’s not just something you do, it’s who you are and what you live.

    I am very touched and very grateful.

    PS I have honored you and several others on my blog today. http://nakedineden.com/nakedinedenblog/16-brilliant-bloggers-with-books/
    .-= Robin Easton´s last blog ..16 Brilliant Bloggers with Books =-.

    Patricia Reply:

    I am having trouble getting over to receive your honors on your blog….we have had a huge wind storm and earth quake and my computer it having trouble with recovery…

    Thank you for your lovely words and I presented Naked in Eden to two book groups yesterday for their 2011 lists…

    I do live my life in a giving way…I have to be very careful not to give myself away.