Recovering from difficult economic times is tough. Each of us either has been directly affected by the financial crisis, or we’ve experienced the crisis through neighbors, co-workers, friends, and family. No one is exempt.
Employment, education, and housing are critical areas of needed stability, yet too many of us are underemployed, or unemployed. And, too many of us are homeless, or at risk of being homeless—living paycheck to paycheck.
Look around you. Whether giving time, talents, or treasure, your community engagement will bring long-term health and stability to the community. As an example, I am involved at Carpenter’s Shelter in Alexandria, Virginia (www.carpentersshelter.org). Carpenter’s is the largest homeless shelter in Northern Virginia, and it serves over 1,000 homeless and formerly homeless individuals and families through a variety of programs and activities beyond meals and beds. Some examples include scholarships for homeless and formerly homeless youth seeking advanced education, employment skills training programs for adults, financial management and counseling services, children’s reading and tutoring programs, and placement in permanent housing among others. And, Carpenter’s has an excellent track record—90 to 95% of Shelter graduates do not return to homelessness.
It is through community organizations like Carpenter’s Shelter that each of us is able to leverage individual efforts with the efforts of so many others to make a real difference in the lives of the folks living around us. I encourage you to look for opportunities where you may help in your community.