The Power of Many. In a time when many have become discouraged or cynical, we look for evidence of how we, together, can make a difference. Shiawassee County found it on Giving Tuesday when the community donated more than $78,000 to 19 local nonprofit organizations.
Also, we have had concrete demonstrations of the power of volunteers in two holiday traditions in Shiawassee County. This past weekend, more than a hundred volunteers put on six magical performances of Holiday at Lebowsky. At the same time, and for several weekends before and after, volunteers at the Steam Railroading Institute are conjuring twice daily trips on the North Pole Express.
Too often, we think that it’s too difficult for one person to have an impact, that our problems are beyond our ability to fix, and that change will come only when someone else somewhere else takes action. Then look at the power of a holiday show, with not only scores of our neighbors (and their children!) performing for us, but volunteers backstage constructing sets, running lights, taking tickets, and sustaining an organization that rebuilt a burned down theater. And just across the river, people give of their time to dress up as conductors, serve as greeters, and run a historic steam locomotive, which was rebuilt, and now painstakingly maintained, by volunteers.
Raise Up Shiawassee serves as the banner under which we can rally together as a community to make a difference. We are fortunate to have several effective nonprofit organizations in Shiawassee County fiercely dedicated to missions which improve the quality of life for our residents. Many of them began collaborating in 2017 to raise funds to assist them in their endeavors. As part of the global social media movement known as #GivingTuesday, this year 534 people gave $78,639 on December 3 (donations are still being accepted through the end of the year at www.raiseUPshiawassee.org )
Generosity cannot be limited to just money, and nonprofits are also working together to empower individuals to give back their time and talents. On November 19 at The Armory an open house allowed people to learn about the missions of 19 organizations and find their “nonprofit soulmate.” Volunteer recruitment continues through the Shiawassee Serves website where people can search and sign up for volunteer positions.
The Cook Family Foundation, Shiawassee Community Foundation, and the United Way provide a backbone for collaborative efforts by local nonprofits, and help create a platform for individuals to give back to their community. A Facebook page, Raise Up Shiawassee, provides an online place to share, announce, and promote activities which can bring us together to create positive change in our community. The hashtag #raiseUPshiawassee has become a quick way to highlight on social media those efforts which make us a better place to live, work, and make a difference.
What can you do to raise up, or support, or create that will make our community better?