7 is the magic number
Posted by katieschmahl on December 18, 2009
So after the Neighbors Exchange in Gaithersburg, we decided to see what the energy was around having a follow-up meeting about employment and volunteering with the Campaign. For our first meeting, we had 7 residents show up (along with others that are already volunteers) and after a slow start, we talked about our work and living situations and finally we established that we want to continue meeting with each other because everyone felt less alone and more supported, and inspired to keep pushing through the struggles of life for another day.
So yesterday, we met again in a different location and 7 residents came again! Most of the same people showed up, but there were 3 newcomers, 3 “veterans” who couldn’t come, and a resource partner, Hugh Bailey from Montgomery Works. Since most people knew each other already, we were able to go deeper and really find out what had changed from last meeting until now, and what kind of support people could request or offer. Roberto, a carpenter and home improvement specialist who is currently unemployed, had been to Montgomery Works and along with his wife, had gone to the Neighborhood Service Center to apply for food stamps, all since our last meeting! He expressed some tension that he had with Montgomery Works, but Hugh reassured him to go back and try again and invoke his name if he wants, to get better service!
There were a lot of other great connections made, including one between Claudia, Sabina and Laura, about childcare. Sabina currently has a daycare in her home, and was offering advice to the others about how to start their own, but also acknowledging that there are many obstacles to the process, like tons of paperwork, fire code stuff, and high costs. George suggested bringing someone from the Latino Economic Development Corporation (LEDC) to the next meeting to talk about how to start your own business. I brought up the struggle that we’ve been having with finding a space for these meetings, and got some suggestions from everyone else, as well as saw some interest in the opportunities to volunteer with the Neighbors Campaign! In response to meeting again after the holidays, a group decision was made to not wait that long, but to meet next Wednesday before Christmas, so until next time…Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!