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With a Heartfelt Thank You

Submitted by Lucie Lewis, Co-facilitator Central Team

Over the summer, on behalf of the Central Team and Springfield School Volunteers, we asked you to STEP UP and volunteer to be mentors to support our students at Putnam and Central High Schools and have been richly rewarded by your response. Ask and, indeed, you shall receive. In the process, however, not only did we see the generosity of the community with respect to your time and talents, but the depth of your commitment to the betterment of our children’s futures. We have been deeply impressed to learn of the many exceptional ways in which each of your organizations works to support the needs of our children. From your support of the many Springfield School Volunteer programs, such as Read Aloud, to each unique, organizationally-sponsored program, your efforts resound through the lives of our students. Every contribution is a critical thread to weaving strength into the fabric of the community.

      I was reminded this week of the wonderful winter soups that my mom would make when the cupboard “pickins were slim.” She always said that with a little bit of this and a little bit of that, you get a whole lot of something good and she was right. Her “use what ya got” soups were some of our best eating when I was a kid. Building community is much like making that soup; the more effectively we share our limited resources in collaboration to bring a little bit of this and a little bit of that together, the tighter we are able to weave the safety net that we need to put under our kids. Edward Gordon reminds us that “Education starts at home, in neighborhoods, and in communities. Reading to children, creating time and space for homework and demonstrating – through words and deeds—that education is important are the first building blocks for high educational achievement.”

      There were essential final tools required to make mom’s comfort soup. The first was the spoon that kept the pot well stirred so that all the ingredients could cook together evenly. As a convener, Step up Springfield is the spoon that works to align shared purposes and missions to help create new opportunities for collaborative effort. But the final tool was time. Time was the one element that transformed all the individual ingredients into blended flavors creating that unique experience where, although there was one new taste, each ingredient retained a distinctive presence. This brewing soup of Springfield is enriched by the “little bit of this” and the “little bit of that” that each organization brings to the projects, collaborations, shared resources and partnerships that have formed or are forming. With patience and persistence, time will bring your great works to scale in ways that lay the foundations needed to raise children who are ready to learn, empowered to self-advocate for the best education possible and instilled with the character to become productive contributors to our community.

      Step Up Springfield is your community partner to help promote resource sharing and collaborative opportunities and to facilitate new partnerships. As a community, organized and mobilized around a shared purpose, we will revitalize our community and give our children a better future. In the words of Terry Tempest Williams:

“The eyes of the future are looking back at us and they are praying for us to see beyond our time.”

For more information contact Step Up Springfield at (413) 693-0228.


The Smiley Group, Inc., 2006. The Covenant with Black America, Chicago, Third World Press, p.25.


ibid, p. xiv.

As published in the December 2007 edition of Afro Am Point Of View retrieved from: http://www.afampointofview.com/POV%20Archives/2007/December_2007/With%20A%20Heartfelt%20Thank%20You.htm