Page 5 - Work Force January 2017
P. 5

   A giving spirit helps us be stronger
The holiday season is undoubtedly full of the giving spirit, when we open our hearts to give what we can to those in need.
With every new year, we have a chance to use that spirit to bring hope to each other and our communities.
In light of the major challenges that we face, it’s easy to lose our perspective. But look around, and you will see our brothers and sisters doing something every day to improve the lives of others in our communities.
The Polar Plunges are a great example of this giving spirit by our members. We chuckle when we see photos of some plungers’ costumes or their facial expressions when they go into the chilly waters, but they are making a great effort to truly help Special Olympics athletes. We are helping make a difference for these athletes.
We also see our brothers and sisters reach out to help other members of our communities, whether it’s responding to an emergency or helping vulnerable neighbors meet basic needs.
Our members not only reach out to our communities, but we reach out to help each other. For example, the convention floor at the 2015 Annual Delegates Meeting became a “sea of pink” to help raise money to help one of our sisters in her cancer battle. This is only one example of the solidarity and giving spirit we show every day.
But this giving spirit is about more than charitable efforts; it’s really about the services we deliver every day. So many of our members quietly go the extra mile just to help others.
We don’t often mention how many of our direct care workers work to ensure individuals in their care have a place to go for the holidays, or about the extra hours that our nursing home workers spend with residents who have no one else or about the money that a social services worker may spend on a winter coat for a child.
Even our day-to-day work duties show our giving spirit and dedication. Our roads are safer to travel in winter because of your long hours spent clearing snow and ice. Our families, friends
and neighbors who use public hospitals and nursing homes are healthier because of you. Our communities are safer because of your hard work in stopping crime and enforcing the law. Children in our schools are well fed because of cafeteria workers who ensure students eat nutritious meals.
As we continue to face many more challenges this year, we need to take some of this giving spirit and use it to keep engaging each other. Part of the spirit of unionism is believing in each other and working together to build each other up.
That way, we can all be strong.
Over the next few years, we will be facing some challenges, but we are also at our strongest at meeting them when we stand together. We need to continue our work at finding a common ground to build this foundation.
A great way to start is to realize our value to our communities.
— Janice Gavin
 January 2017
The Work Force 5

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