This week at Tuesdays Together, we had a great mix of old and new friends. After the usual dinner, welcome and introductions, we split up into three groups: the workforce circle; the ESOL class; and the mutual support circle.
For the first time in a few weeks, I stayed in the mutual support circle and I was reminded how this simple tool can allow a diverse group of neighbors (some of whom are attending for the first time) to share personal challenges and gifts.
For example, Hector hasn’t been able to join us for many weeks — his work schedule simply didn’t allow it. But, he was back this week glad to see his friends and looking for work. Instead of relying solely on ads on Craigslist like he used to, he came back to Tuesdays Together to find out what jobs his neighbors knew about (or as we network builders like to say “activate his networks”). In response to his request about jobs, Carlos A., Jose, Ana, Rosa and Guadalupe all offered specific information on openings that might work for him.
In my opinion, Hector is the perfect example of mutual support — last night he received the group’s support and he offered what he could. As Carlos A. shared the a very difficult story about scraping together the money for his young daughter’s medical needs in El Salvador, Hector chimed in: “Carlos, I can’t give you money, but I can help you get around. I have a car and since I’m not working, you just call me when you need a ride and I’ll pick you up. That way you can save time by not having to take the bus.”
Luckily, there are many neighbors like Hectors in Wheaton and when our friend Carlos A. shared about his daughter’s medical situation they all jumped in to offer support — Juan, who stopped by Catholic Charities by chance this week, offered to fix our cars (he’s a mechanic in Silver Spring) and then donate the money to Carlos for his daughter. Rosa offered to organize a fundraiser with the group and Ana agreed to help out by cooking. Ira and I are going to buy candy to sell and donate the money to Carlos.
Join us next week at Tuesdays Together and contribute to our evolving story of neighbors supporting each other.