A united community

Challenging, painful, tragic, horrific, and devastating are some of the headlines pulled from media outlets from across our country in recent weeks. There is no secret that we as a country are hurting from all that we have and continue to endure–violence, intolerance, and disparity. There are so many thoughts on how we bring resolution and where we start to make a difference. Those diverse thoughts and proposed approaches perhaps primed us for an especially challenging election cycle this year. Election season is typically a polarizing time, perhaps more so now than any other time is memorable history. The angst and discord put a strain and stress on civility and sometimes reveal just how deep the divisions truly are. However, here in the Mid-Ohio Valley, we have been a longtime model for unity during times of divide and discord. We have a history of turning things around despite the odds. Our United Way is a cooperative, collaborative community conduit. Our network of supporters live with different beliefs and opinions. They have diverse backgrounds and vastly differing opinions. Their systemic differences could separate them indefinitely…but it doesn’t. Our community of advocates and supporters work together to turn the tide toward hope because they have a common goal and vision. They want to see a local community that is strong, safe, healthy and thriving. They know that there are as many opinions and perspectives as there are grains of sand in an hourglass. They know that a community can’t wait while we sort out the red from the blue. They have a “can do” attitude and spirit of alliance that creates the very strongest of collaborations.

Despite vast differences and agonizingly different beliefs, we must challenge ourselves to walk together with a shared solution in our sights for our local community. The work of organizations like United Way is critical in advancing the common good. While making impact, it also provides a framework for everyone to come together and find a shared purpose and common ground. The one thing that we should all agree on is that it all our community’s health and stability is a priority. Supporting impactful work by nonprofits lays the foundation for cultivating a thriving community.

Our community needs heroes. Our community needs champions who will lead with a tolerant spirit focused on ensuring healthy and safe environments so that we can reach our full potential. By providing a unified spirit through productive connections we can encourage life beyond the status quo. By living with that “can do” attitude that allows us to focus on strengthening the foundation of our community, we will unite and provide the opportunity for a bright future for generations to come.

Collaboration and community spirit do not need to fall along party lines. Forward progress and positive change do not have to affiliate as red, blue, left or right. The difference is made when we united for the common good and invest in our community. Your United Way is uniting community heroes to create the positive change we need. Your United Way is making a difference and we hope you will join our fight to create a stronger community where we all live, work and play.

Stacy DeCicco is executive director of the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley.

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