The idea of living in community – where we live our lives as an active part of a greater whole, conscious that our actions affect those around us, working together to improve our community – is one that most of us can agree is important and good. We want to see positive growth in our communities and people living healthy lifestyles.
In reality, though, we take a look at our local news headlines any day of the week, and we’re assaulted with stories and images of poverty, crime and suffering. We see the unsettling statistics and experience uncomfortable situations in our own community, and we can get thrown off track. It can be overwhelming in the face of so many tragic issues that we feel helpless to make a real difference in our community.
Mother Teresa is attributed to have said, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” Sometimes the issues that our communities face seem overwhelming, and it can be easy to feel like we won’t really have enough of an impact to make it worth the effort, or to know where to start. But there is truth in this saying – ‘”I can…create many ripples.” Just one person can reach out and touch another life, and the ripple effects from those two lives can expand outward and benefit and inspire others to reach out too and help make their community a better place.
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
There are so many ways to get involved in our communities, at almost any level of commitment (whether time, money or resources) to fit with personal schedules and comfort levels. To help inspire you, the team at Edge wanted to share some of our favorite organizations where we’ve been involved to help improve our communities.
Whitney: Whitney is active with Dove Lewis Emergency Animal Hospital, where she is a board member on Dove in the City. Dove Lewis goes above and beyond your average pet hospital by providing services for stranded or abused pets, stray or wild animals, a pet loss support program, assistance for low-income families and much more. Their annual Petlandia fundraiser is happening in a few weeks – visit Dove Lewis for tickets and to help support the emergency efforts on their behalf.
Zack: Within a few months of moving to Portland, Zack connected with Edge client Portland Rescue Mission and serves regularly by helping guests and fellow volunteers at the Burnside shelter’s guest services desk in the lobby. Portland Rescue Mission provides meals, shelter and care to homeless and hurting men, women and children, as well as addiction recovery, counseling, job training and much more to help those individuals start a new life. There are a wide variety of ways to help homeless and hurting people in the greater Portland community through the work of PRM. If you’d like to learn more about volunteering at the Portland Rescue Mission the best place to start is the Volunteer page on their website.
Dan and Noelle: Dan and Noelle volunteer regularly at their home church of Mars Hill in Portland. Mars Hill welcomes upwards of 300 families and individuals each week at Sunday services, where Dan helps lead music in the service and Noelle helps care for children while parents attend service. Dan also runs the Mars Hill Facebook page and manages other outreach-oriented communications with the greater community. Mars Hill is involved in supporting the local DSHS office by helping to renovate and re-design DSHS offices to provide a more welcoming atmosphere for children and give a much-needed facelift to the offices. The church members also recently completed over 350 “Welcome Boxes” for children entering foster care.
Natalie: There is a segment of our community that most people prefer to ignore, and yet they desperately need our help. Women working in prostitution or the sex industry are objectified, used and often societal outcasts that see no hope of a better life, and the effect on their children is equally devastating. Rahab’s Sisters focuses on providing healing relationships with marginalized women and their children, and Natalie serves on the board for this organization as well as volunteers her time at Our Mother’s House, which operates under the umbrella of Rahab’s Sisters. Our Mother’s House focuses on connecting vulnerable and exploited women to social services that will help improve their lives and provides them with toiletries and clothing, as well as books and toys for their children.
Scott and Stephanie: Scott and Stephanie support Responder Life together. First responders – police officers, firefighters and more — put their personal safety on the line every day to protect and serve our communities, but the intense stress contributes to high rates of divorce, alcoholism, PTSD and suicide. Responder Life is an organization that provides first responders and their families with resources to help keep their families intact and aid them through some of the tough times they face while being in a role of service and leadership in the community.
As a company, Edge makes it a priority to give back to the community in several ways: through the clients we serve, in supporting our staff and their work with the community, and in being involved in client fundraising events. We love to see the tangible impact in the work that we do, both personally and professionally.
You can help your community too – it can be as simple as clicking a link to donate or spending a few hours of your time once a month to volunteer. We can each create ripples in our communities and be a part of making them better, safer and healthier places to live. Don’t wait any longer – start making your ripples today!
Tell us about your favorite community service organization in a comment below.