How Can I Better My Local Community?

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A Facebook friend, discussing her yard work, meant to write, “Mostly I want to water where I’ve planted.”

What she actually wrote was, “Mostly I want to water where I’m planted.”

I live and work in the same city where I teach; I moved here after I was hired, right before starting the school year. I felt it was important to be an invested person in my community, because I believe public education belongs to the public, not just teachers, students, and parents.

There are some struggles coming up for this city. A local factory is idling around the end of the month, and that means a loss of over four hundred jobs. The only grocery store left in the northern part of town stopped stocking fresh meat and produce, sparking rumors of an imminent closing. And those rumors aren’t unreasonable, either: another store in the same chain on the east side of town shuttered suddenly just over a year ago, and its space remains empty to this day. If this other store also closes, the northern part of town will become more of a food desert than it already is. And, anecdotally, the biggest barrier for people in that part of town to getting groceries is actually transportation. Having to travel farther is not going to help people. In fact, I can’t even think of any drugstores up around there where people could even just get snowstorm basics like milk, bread, and eggs.

So, as a teacher, how can I help solve these problems in my local community? I can care for, nurture, and educate children, sure. But I want to do more than just help them get through every day. I want to be a force for positive change for their families and their neighborhoods, too.

How can I do that? I have thoughts on where to start, but other ideas and resources are welcome.

I want to water where I’m planted.

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