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Strengthening our Communities

IMG_1833Hi Everyone,

I have been blogging for a few months now, but since I am still a newbie I was doing a little research on blogging. One suggestion was to use a photo of yourself, I am not crazy about pictures of myself, but there, like my blogging, I am a work in progress.

Starting today (for several weeks) I will be working from home, while our building is having some carpeting renovation work.  This has opened up some unique possibilities for me. Changing one’s environment, especially one where you spend a large majority of your time does wonders for your happiness and creativity meter.

Tonight, I will be attending a town-hall meeting in a small town South of Omaha. I was asked to come and share a little bit about our programming, because this small community has noticed some concerning behavior among their youth and are taking action. I am both honored and humbled to be a part of this community’s movement.  Whether my contribution be large, small, long-term or short-term,  I know that I will have played a role and that is a good feeling.  Every voice is important and needed.

Another example of community members creating change is, the 2014 SOMS Sobriety Powwow Committee. Wow, I am so impressed and honored to have had a small part in working with this group. This year the committee was able to pull together, coordinate, organize and run a Powwow in just a little over a month, with $3,000 less in financial resources than the previous year. They held fund-raisers, made employee selections and vetted staff for key roles, but most importantly, they spread the word and brought in over 300 people. What is equally exciting is, they have already begun planning for next year, and have began putting the word out for a venue after being contacted by two large groups. Compared to the first two years, these venues are higher profile, have the capacity to hold more people, and if all goes well, they may be able to get one or both for free.

The hope is to make this Powwow as big if not bigger than the Denver March Powwow, and wouldn’t that be something. For me, knowing that I helped begin this is truly gratifying. It is my hope that this event will begin a movement towards environmental change in how our communities and society view alcohol and other substances of abuse. Just to be clear our intentions are not to say that alcohol is bad, but it is to get back to viewing it as what it is, a beverage that should be used responsibly and legally. I don’t have to abstain from alcohol to be an advocate for substance abuse prevention, but I do need to be a positive role model.

Change is all around us, and it comes in all sorts of shapes and forms, as for me the last two weeks have been enlightening. Last week pulling together our Hoops for Life tournament, was highly stressful.  I like to have things organized and prepared way ahead of time, but this year that just did not happen. Thankfully, our Program Manager, Neal Manuel is comfortable with impromptu situations, and he successfully pulled off our suicide prevention presentation.The more time that goes by, the more I realize that we can’t always do things alone and must rely on others — that is what strong communities are about.

Change is inevitable in our lives, how we handle the change is up to us.





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