From the desk of Teresa Jordan, Executive Director – Last week I had the privilege of hearing Cormac Russell speak and, if you are unsure of who that is, please Google him and listen to one his talks about community and its strengths.
Cormac’s ideas about building on what is strong in a community reflect and expand upon the visions of many others. So rather than deciding that there is too little green space, not enough youth activities, no police presence or no convenience store open past 8 pm., he suggests that we completely change the conversation to noticing what a community does have – the church has a drum circle that is well attended, there is a small group that gathers to roller blade on Wednesdays nights, and Mr. Jones has an impromptu community garden on his front lawn. Cormac would say that spending time noticing what is already happening – and identifying the natural connectors who already exist in a community – is of paramount importance.
What does that mean for us? Community is a living, breathing thing that we are committed to promoting inclusion with and in. Cormac says that natural connectors often know over 80 people in their community, and can reach out to others to connect people of similar interests, passions or views. He says that when these people are gathered, they are often surprised and embarrassed to be called out as connectors … but a room full of 100 connectors, with all of their connections, could represent about 8,000 people in the community.
Let’s take some time to just notice the natural connectors, the active community members who – largely unsung – are putting people and ideas together all around us. They have so much to teach us. And to the connectors – thank you for all of the connections and ideas that you offer each day.