It is always amazing to see how much work can get done when many partner together using their brains and their backs. I have had the privilege of doing community work over the last decade plus. I know that there is great power in doing partnerships that help a community stand up and figure out how to help themselves. The opportunity is whether we are willing to step outside of our comfort zone and get dirty and whether those that are in tough circumstances can take some ownership of their lives.
This last Saturday the weather was perfect for doing a morning project. We had 60 volunteers coming from 5 different groups to impact an older neighborhood where the homes are 40 years old. We had already painted these three house two years ago and had come back to do trim, clean up, hand out more painting flyers, play with neighborhood kids and do a simple hot dog BBQ to finish off the morning. I am fortunate to have college interns from Arizona State and Grand Canyon Universities.
What I love the most about our community work is that it brings together a very diverse group of people both racially, socio-economically and age wise. I enjoy challenging individuals to think about becoming change agents who do something significant with their lives that impact a family, individual or neighborhood. One of my older interns talked about the need for racial diversity to be better understood by those outside of our community. It is so easy to allow stereotypes to cloud our willingness of making new friends.
The beauty of having many hands working together is that no one has to sweat or feel like the burden of the world is on them! I love watching when a community comes together to strategically work smart and accomplish a few things in a short period of time. I know that doing street art with chalk will leave a memory of what took place that day for at least a week. I’m blessed to have so many friends that will share their time, talents and resources with those that are hurting. The end result is that everyone learns from one another and leaves with a sense of making a new friend, learning about life in a different context and hopefully considering being a force of grace and change.