Our Executive Director, Princes Lyles, writes of witnessing community building in action.
This past weekend, I had the pleasure of witnessing community building in action and speaking with Tom Raines as he was working in his community to make it a little better place. It was a random encounter, really. I was visiting my hometown of Hartford, Connecticut and while walking the family puppy past the playground that I would go to as a child, I saw Mr. Raines painting. No one else was there at the time, he was an army of one. I stopped him just to say thank you and let him know that the job looked great. I imagined that he was a paid contractor of the city. We talked for a few moments when I learned that he was not a contractor and was not being compensated for re-painting the playground.
Mr. Raines is a Master’s student at Albertus Magnus College and decided to paint the local playground as his community service project for the completion of his degree. Mr. Raines said he passes by the park daily on his way to work and felt it needed a helping hand and he had the helping hand to lend. No one asked Tom to take on this project, he did it simply because it needed to be done. Based on our short conversation, I know he lives in the neighborhood but I don’t believe he has children of age to benefit from playing in the park. Tom probably won’t get written up in the paper or receive any specific accolades for his work but he cleaned and painted the park anyway. Let us all be inspired by Tom’s example and do something, anything in our local communities to make them better, more livable places. After all, isn’t this the price we pay for a place on this earth?