Written by: Margaret Pashko, Board Member
In just a few short months, we have been faced with considerable health, economic and political upheaval. No one could have anticipated such a dramatic world-wide change. During this time, we can all probably say we have experienced some dark days. The one saving grace is living in a place like Jacksonville. I know my experience would be very different if I had not relocated here seven years ago. I lived in a big southern California city with over 350 thousand residents. You were lucky if you knew any of your neighbors. Contrast that with my neighborhood of today. We meet regularly for coffee or wine (socially distanced, of course); help each other with clean up days; wave as we pass each other and make every effort to be neighborly. All of this translates to me as the power of community.
“There is immense power when a group of people with similar interests gets together to work toward the same goals”.
I loved this quote because it makes me realize that building community is going to be integral to our country’s recovery from our current environment of uncertainty and unrest. I think Jacksonville is a model that supports the premise in the quote. You look around and see the amazing work that the Jacksonville Boosters, the Jacksonville Woodlands Association, the Jacksonville Garden Club, the Jacksonville Seniors and so many other like-minded groups provide to benefit our small town.
Another great example of community lies with the Jacksonville Community Center (JCC). It was re-built because of a group of residents who worked tirelessly to reach a mutual goal. I recently joined the board of directors because I feel strongly about its mission which is to be a gathering place for all ages with programs and events that meet community needs, enhance the quality of life and promote community connections. Once we get through the re-opening of our lives, I look forward to the opportunity of bringing people together and building relationships rooted in inclusiveness – all the while having fun, enjoying each other and continuing the strengthening of our city. Jacksonville has the power and I hope other cities and towns across our country can harness the same as we move past the current crisis.