I birthed this idea 18 years ago and I have been feeding and keeping it so close and dear to my heart. I have been over protective and discouraged by people who didn’t see or understand the vision. This dream came to me out of necessity and a love of interacting with people. I was born in a community where it’s members looked out for each other. I moved to a community where everyone had learned to mind their own business and handle their own responsibilities. I tried to wave and speak the way I was accustomed in my previous community. It was very discouraging not to receive that wave back. After living in Maryland for six months, I understood that people were so focused on just getting through their busy day to get back home.
I followed suit until one day my 4 year old son was at the curb waving to random people riding in their cars. There weren’t kids outside to play with like we had when I grew up. This troubled me and I needed a solution. We put a bandage on it by finding a community center and signed him up for sports. I was not satisfied with the way that it was organized and operated but it was something.
I was then reminded of a coworker I had met when I first moved to the area. She said she had decided to live in Virginia because there was no retail in Maryland. She added that she found the terrible customer service. When she finished her story, I decided to distanced myself from her. I thought she was being negative and that she thought she was better than others. Instead, I bought a house in Prince Georges County, Maryland that was two times the size of the house that I could have purchased in Virginia where I worked. Over the next 1 years, I have experienced the same thing that she eloquently described. If I could find my coworker, I would apologize to her. She was just expressing her experience.
I thought I could change the world back then with the wave of my hand. What I know now is that I can truly change the world but it won’t happen unless I am willing to put in the time and work. Nothing will change until you put something in place to create the change that you want to see. The greatest thing I learned is that you have to have conversations about it because you are not the only one that are encountering these community issues and you are not the only one in desperate need of these changes.
I have fought many of these battles myself. Some I won but most I lost. I have stopped spending money at places that refused to hear my voice. History and my personal experience have taught me that it is easier to change unfair circumstances when many come together with the same voice and message.
I’ve seen people turn undesirable communities into beautiful flourishing communities but it took a lot of well-used time and resources. They like to call this re-gentrification and I call it proper planning and effort. You have to first as a majority of the community decide to see a vision of a better community. Then you have to be willing to put forward the time and resources to create your vision.
Let’s be realistic. Some will have more time than money; some will have more ideas than solutions; some will have more resources than time. However, if the strength of each is utilized and shared, the change you seek will happen. There will be some that have never seen it done and will not be able to see the vision and they will not feed into the effort because they don’t have any background reference to see how it could happen. This effort to a person like that opens opportunities for them in the future that they would have never dreamt possible. To me that is a win win situation for a community. Patience is the key to this success. We may feel that we don’t have the time but we have to make time. People tend to want other people to move at their pace but everyone is different and may learn concepts quicker or slower than others. The reality is that we all have to move at our own pace of life.
I have been jokingly referred to by my friends as the mayor because I have an innate ability to see the good in all the people. I look to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. I like to help create solutions by making connections. If you are an amazing cook with weak business skills, I would like to introduce you to a person with “Steve Jobs-type” business skills and, perhaps, access to a building. I thrive by connecting people with talent and passion with other passionate people.
My vision is a global community where individuals pass on their gifts to others and encourage people to do the same. I am talking politics that gives power back to the community and inspire young people to use their gifts to make their lives and their community better. I can see this happening as clear as I see these words on the paper. If this movement needs a leader, I am thoroughly dedicated to making the community and this world a better place. If we want a real positive change to occur with our citizens with needs and limited resources we have to do something to help. Ignoring them and talking about them have not work. Let’s come together to support and educate each of us in need.