DIVAS Calendar Front

DIVAS Calendar Front

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Case for Community

This program week has been interesting.  Part of our function as a Mentoring program is to provide opportunities for our participants to become "aware of their surroundings and contribute to their community".  It is sometimes amazing how when you write down a purpose, make a pledge, or state a mission, everything you do and plan somehow lines up with it.

On Wednesday, we caught the #14 StarMetro downtown to take a tour of our own City Hall.  Many of our participants, though they were born and raised here in Tallahassee, have never taken a tour of the building downtown.  Thanks to Michelle Bono and Delores Downing in City Manager Anita Favors-Thompson's office for facilitating this opportunity for the DIVAS.  They were able to sit in the Commissioner's seats, speak with the folks in Traffic Control (that was really scary!), and receive goodies and information on recycling and energy conservation tips from the Go Green Initiative.  Besides attending the first half of the city commission meeting that afternoon, one of our own DIVAS was called to do an impromptu speech before the commission at the request of Mayor Marks.  It was a good time, and the girls seemed to understand that there is a lot more to running a City than just the Police and the Utility company. 

On Thursday, we were able to have the Tallahassee Police Department's Gang Unit visit the program to discuss the recent gang activity in Southside Tallahassee.  The young ladies appeared to be a bit casual and sassy with the Officers, and I reiterated to them that despite attitudes that family members and others may have of the Police, those Officers have taken an oath to protect them and that should demand their highest respect.  I also reminded them that if they are not breaking the law, they have no reason to dislike police officers... in fact, they should support our local law enforcement because they keep us safe and do their job out of commitment to community and not income potential.  I am concerned about the way that our youth perceive the work of law enforcement and I hope to explore opportunities for our participants to gain more insight into this realm of government in the near future.

On Friday, we took a day to visit the pool at the Walker-Ford Community Center.  Although it was hot, the use of the pool- which resembled a family reunion weekend with all of the folks there- was a great way for the girls to see how our government facilitates the recreation and enjoyment of its citizens through something as simple as a swimming pool.  It is important to also note that use of the Walker-Ford Community Pool is free to Tallahassee residents this summer.  There were babies, grandparents, children, and teens enjoying the day; and there was adequate supervision, which lended to further enjoyment.  One of the young ladies felt that was the most fun she'd had this summer... that was huge.

On Saturday morning we had our first RainWash of the summer.  Hosted by the Paradise Grill & Bar on 7th & N. Meridian, the young ladies pre-sold tickets and we invited the community to be a part of the DIVAS movement.  And they responded... 'en masse'.  We washed cars the entire time... there was scarcely a moment when we were not taking tickets or donations.  For me, it was community at it's best; parents and children working side by side, people stopping by to get their cars washed or to simply donate to the program, and a beautiful day to serve as a backdrop to it all.  It does a heart good... the Lord simply blessed what we were doing in a magnificent way.  So much more could be said, but I will leave it at that.

As a child, I never knew the value of what my mother would teach me about community.  No matter which sector- families, organization, government- we are all so innately interwoven together that it is important for us to teach and show our young people now so that they may find their place to serve in the future.  If this program does anything for our participants, I hope it will do that.  Blessings, CH

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