I hope that you’re enjoying this time of the year with loved ones. I really appreciate the holidays because it gives me a chance to spend quality time with those who I am close to. This year has been very busy for me as I am going to school and starting a community program in Arleta with the guidance of Grand Aspirations. I’ve gotten to know some of the people behind this organization over the past five months due to my participation in a program partially supported by GA located in East Los Angeles called La Causa Summer of Solutions. I’m happy to be under the wing of an organization that is run by young people who are enthusiastically and successfully creating programs that integrate community building, social justice, and sustainability.
As Communications Facilitator for Summer of Solutions, I’m featuring every program to paint a broad picture of the depth and variety of solutions young people are building across the nation.
This post is drawn from a conversation I had with Amanda Bancroft, an AmeriCorps*VISTA volunteer at the OMNI Center for Peace, Justice, and Ecology. The main organizers of Fayetteville SoS are: Andrea Love, Maggie Strain, Karina Hunt, Banah Ghadbian, Jeanie Lopez-Hall, Chelsea Mouber, and Brian Kupillas. The post is co-authored by me and the Fayetteville team.
Leaders in the program have a strong interest in gardening and permaculture. There are already over 50 gardening projects, organizations, and networks in Fayetteville, and so Amanda sees the role of Summer of Solutions as one that will connect these already dynamic organizations together. The Fayetteville team has already partnered with the OMNI Center’s garden, the World Peace Wetlands Prairie, and the community garden at Unity church. In addition, the group has been given several acres of land and a greenhouse, which the team is hoping to develop for gardening.
Through building collective growing power in Fayetteville, Summer of Solutions participants will be facilitating a beautiful expansion of the amazing work already happening around the city.
Last Wednesday night, a group of about 15 Worcester Solutionaries sat around a community fire hosted by our local librarian, advisor, and spiritual teacher Rachael Shea, checking-in for the week after one of our delicious, abundant potlucks. Rachael and her fellow friend, shaman, and healer Dan Sprinkles, who was a special guest visiting us, posed the questions, “What motivates you to do this work for Summer of Solutions?” “What brings you together as a community in ways that seem so natural to you but yet take time and practice from so many others?” and “What gives you the courage to do what you’re doing?”, not necessarily expecting an answer, but just hoping to understand how and why we’re doing what we’re doing this summer. The last question struck me as particularly interesting and maybe misdirected because I did not consider what we were doing “courageous” per se; to me that sounded too gratifying or pedestal-deserving than what we were actually doing. After talking to Dan about it more and asking what he meant by that question, he told me that “courage” actually comes from root definitions meaning “action from the heart”. All of a sudden it made more sense to me, and I do see our work this summer as full of courage; not in a medal-deserving way, but in a way that we maybe don’t know exactly why we’re doing what we’re doing, but it feels right, important, and coming from a natural pull from our hearts to action.