I read an article today that featured one of my former clients – The Greater Chatham Initiative. The article was about “middle neighborhoods” – those neighborhoods that are on the verge of distress yet still believing in themselves and holding onto their history and dignity. Their muscle memory is alive and well. They’re neighborhoods ripe with potential.
Communities reflect the people who live there. You hollow out the people – you hollow out the community.
So what makes people and communities viable – not just viable – robust? Alive?
People and communities move. They move between homes and businesses. Between families and friends. They support each other. They believe in each other.
They grow and change. They adapt as their lives and environments change – always bringing the best of themselves to whatever change brings.
They are resilient, learning from their challenges as well as life’s gifts.
They find strength from within. They protect and cherish their unique talents and assets. They work at making those talents stronger.
They find strength across differences. They value diversity of thought, race, gender, age, sexual orientation, etc.
They have a vision of the future – what can be.
They take risks for the sake of learning. They value knowledge and wisdom.
They understand the value of options and choice.
They pay attention to their hearts and to the world around them.
They are strong leaders – often quiet and unassuming.
They are committed to each other.
Communities are where we live. Where we work. Where we play. They are we. We are them.
By the way, the Greater Chatham Initiative is doing brilliant work. It is maximizing community and its people.