Winters in Vermont are cold and harsh and when the kids go outside to play, it’s important for them to be bundled up warmly and protected from the weather and cold temperatures.  I was speaking to a number of moms about the fact that some children were coming to school without the necessary hats, mittens and scarves to keep them warm when they went outside. As our Town Service Officer, one of the things that I did was act as a sort of liaison between our state government and the lower income people in our community.    A Town Service Officer tries to make sure that any emergency needs that aren’t being met by the state get brought to the attention of a service agency that can help.

I contacted our local senior center and asked if some of the ladies there would be interested in knitting and donating hats, scarves, and mittens for a mitten tree to be placed in our local elementary school.  These donated hats, scarves and mittens would be given out by the school nurse to children that she noticed weren’t being sent to school prepared for the weather.  Working with the ladies at the senior center and others in the community, we had not only enough hats, gloves, and mittens for that year but also for the next.  It felt so good to work with my local community to make a difference. Get a Community Action Pack Toolkit to see how you can help!

Community Action feels like an adventure and is something we carry with us everyday. That said, use the Community Action Pack that outlines the best of the resources on the web that exist to drive community engagement and action no matter what issue someone is facing. Below are the digital platforms that are highlighted:

• POPVOX: Find out what issues are being addressed in Congress through an easy-to-use website
• All For Good: Volunteer matching service no matter where you live or how much time you have to offer
• MindMixer: A platform that makes it easier to share ideas with city leaders
• Story of Stuff’s Changemaker Quiz: Find out what type of changemaker you are
• SeeClickFix and CitySourced: Allow you to easily connect and report civic issues directly to your local officials using the camera and GPS in your smartphone
• Sunlight Foundation’s Call On Congress: An 800 number that allows you to track bills in Congress
• Ashoka Changemakers: Get the tools and resources for your idea that can better the world
• Care2: empowering citizens through creating and signing petitions
• NationBuilder and WordPress: The tools to create a website and outreach platform for an issue that’s important for you
• MeetUp: Find or start a meetup group to discuss the issues your community faces and the solutions and changemaking that is possible
• Neighborgoods: Connects people to save money and resources by sharing goods in the hopes of building stronger communities
• Twitter and Facebook: Strategies to leverage social media platforms to make change in your community. Check out the Facebook Connect Experience

Promised Land is the new contemporary drama directed by Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting, Milk). Matt Damon plays Steve Butler, an ace corporate salesman who is sent along with his partner, Sue Thomason (Frances McDormand), to close a key rural town in his company’s expansion plans. With the town having been hit hard by the economic decline of recent years, the two outsiders see the local citizens as likely to accept their company’s offer, for drilling rights to their properties, as much-needed relief. What seems like an easy job for the duo becomes complicated by the objection of a respected schoolteacher (Hal Holbrook) with support from a grassroots campaign led by another man (John Krasinski), as well as the interest of a local woman (Rosemarie DeWitt). Promised Land explores America at the crossroads where big business and the strength of small-town community converge. Post inspiration provided through Linqia.  All thoughts are my own.