Community is a powerful word. I had just recently moved to New York before Hurricane Sandy devastated many towns in the local area. As a company, we helped fellow co-workers and their families. Workplaces in Manhattan with power were opening offices to people without. Here was an event that impacted the lives of New Yorkers and the simple act of sharing offices enabled a group of people to go from merely sharing in a tragedy to becoming a community that helped one another live our lives in the aftermath.
Not all communities rally around an event. Some rally around a cause. As part of the No Kid Hungry social council, I've seen the power of a few dozen people reaching out to their personal networks, business connections and celebrities to create awareness on #GivingTuesday. Maximizing the reach of an inspirational message or important piece of information requires the dedication of humans to staying open to sharing and consuming content that raises awareness.
This week in a small town in Texas, a community is coming together in a very unique way. 6,000 Hutto ISD students were joined by parents, teachers, local citizens and government officials to share their genius and use it to help change the world. There was no pre-planned goal or mission, just knowledge that when you bring a community together, great things can happen. The most remarkable part of this is the students are not being told how to change the world; they are just being asked, "Do you believe that you are a genius, and that the world needs your contribution?" When a child believes they can achieve, they are undoubtedly influenced by the people in their lives including those in their local surroundings and on the national radar.
Community becomes even more powerful when it includes the entire community. When all members of the community pull together for a united cause, the power becomes unlimited. The change, or transformation, that occurs from the entire community is something greater than just what a small group of the community or an individual can achieve.
Communities are diverse. We have people of all ages and backgrounds who are skilled in different areas. By working together, having old mentor young, young inspiring old, and strong helping weak, we all give fully. Only together, as a community, can we give beyond our individual means. Participation is essential.
We all have something to contribute. One may be a storyteller. Another may be an inventor. Some may be artists, and others mathematicians. What we saw in Hutto was students changing the world by sharing causes that matter to them, working together with the community of teachers, city government members and concerned citizens on how to solve them, and then collaborating with mentors to have these become reality. We can expect to see an anti-bullying day or week and a campaign to end childhood hunger tied with a national charity as only a couple of examples of what will result from this community. This wouldn't be possible without us all coming together.
Usually we see communities come together when they stem from a cause or disaster. The community effort at Hutto ISD is a great example of a community coming together because they want to. We need these sorts of pure motives to nurture genuine communities. What they will create will be something remarkable. How do I know this? Because if they didn't come together, nothing would happen.