A few weeks ago I sat with several community leaders on a panel talking to a group of Mansfielders about how we “give back.” The group was in Leadership Unlimited, an adult leadership training program that explores issues and challenges with leading in our county. I was told that this was basically an opportunity to brag about what we do, so we did. But being that I freeze when placed in front of two or more strangers and made to talk, I wrote out some of what I wanted to tell them ahead of time. Below are the three ways I discovered I give back to my community.
First, I believe in Mansfield. There’s a whole lot of us who lived in big cities in our 20s and then came home for one reason or another. My mom pointed something out to me recently that I hadn’t put together myself, but all of us who came home brought pieces of the big city with us. Stuff that we came to expect there, and that are the bonuses of living in a big city and compensation for putting up with stinky rush hour subway cars. We brought those pieces home with us and established them here and ended up kind of accidentally enriching the cultural environment.
Like, for me it was holding open mics for writers, bringing in authors from all over the state, hosting poetry readings and writing clubs. For others of my friends it was bringing in bands from across the world, starting an opera company, a graphic design company, a dance troupe, bringing arts to Mansfield that others said Mansfield was not ready for. Read the rest of this entry »