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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Contribute to Communities of Care

How could a movement towards Communities of Care develop our world in ways that matter?

How can we rethink our political structure so that the emphasis is on communities of care--small communities that work to the benefit of all the people who live and work in that community?

I work in a small community that does care, and demonstrates, to a large degree, what communities of care can do to support individuals. Some of the attributes of this community include an attitude of caring for one another, lots of intersections and collective work within and amongst community organizations, preservation of natural areas, attention to infrastructure and zoning, community services, and invested citizens.

As educators, we can support this movement by making sure that our schools are communities of care--communities that work with all students, families, citizens, educators, and leaders to build a warm, welcoming learning organization.

We can further our work by looking for ways to collaborate with other local care providers such as health and wellness organizations, basic needs services, police and fire staff, and local organizations in ways that help our students and ensure that the areas around our schools are safe and child-friendly.

I imagine that in communities of care the members of that community or those that profit from the members of those communities would be required to contribute time, dollars, and goods as determined by the community and perhaps guiding national laws and protocols.

At the national level, the work would focus on those services that tie our communities together and services and incentives that strengthen communities throughout the country with a focus on context, community decision making/needs, and our good work with communities throughout the world.

As an interdependent people and world, it is time to look at how our efforts impact the efforts and lives of others. This week as I watched films from other countries around the world, I noted so many harsh conditions--conditions that prevent individuals from having the luxury to think beyond the basic human needs of safety, food, shelter, freedom, health care, and joy. In these movies, the focus was on survival first and anything else that most of us in the United States consider to be a right as second.

There is such tremendous potential in today's world to build communities of care with strength and focus.  How does your work support a community of care? How does your organization support and contribute to this notion? What about your town, neighborhood, city, or state?

In the new year, I'll be thinking of the ways that I can better contribute to the communities where I belong in ways that increase care. I believe that's one direction we can positively move in this ever changing, and sometimes challenging, world we live in. Do you agree?