A Green Thumb for Communities

293393_10150863746010181_1080019509_nI am pretty sure I have a black thumb. Despite helping my dad with his very successful garden growing up, I have a very bad tendency to kill every plant that ends up in my house.

I think part of what makes plants difficult to care for is that when it needs something, it can’t tell you. When my cat is hungry, she’ll meow at me until I take care of the problem. My house plant, however, has no ability to communicate to me other than subtle leaf variations.

My struggles with house plants remind me a bit of the difficulties that can be faced when trying to solve the problems of a struggling community. Many voices will tell you there are problems, but few of them will be able to tell you specifically what led to this downturn. Finding the root cause of violence and poverty, and then fixing it, is a very difficult task.

But thanks to years of hard work, cities are successfully helping struggling communities rise. They know that stopping violence and poverty can’t involve only the police, but must also include the schools and even the community itself. Our Board President and City of Fairfield Chief of Police likes to say, “You can’t arrest your way out of crime,” and we agree!

That’s why The Leaven programs are so important. They help treat a root cause of crime in these struggling neighborhoods – and in doing so, also foster community bonds and increase education services to elementary school children.

And we don’t do this alone. By working with many other programs, leaders, residents and service providers in the community, we can each focus on the unique needs of each part of the community, helping it to grow strong and healthy.

Plants need sunlight, water, good soil and food to grow strong — and sometimes even an encouraging word seems to help. Communities require commitment and teamwork from all who call them home, so that even the most vulnerable are given opportunities to flourish. We know that in order for everyone to thrive, the community as a whole must be healthy. That is why at The Leaven we always say that together, we are helping kids and communities rise.

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