Ruth, Maureen, and I often see the world through unique lenses, yet with a common thread. Our shared perspective on community is a great example. We are exceptionally grateful for this Valley and the ways it has supported us—and those around us, from people in business to people in need.
The ways we are involved in community, though, are as singular as we are.
Exuberant over the power of community
It’s no exaggeration to say that Ruth’s involvement in the community makes her exuberant.
Six years ago, when she returned to her native Northampton after living in New York for 30 years, Ruth found community to be alive and well here. She delights in observing its power all around her.
As an active ambassador and newly appointed member of the Board of Directors of the Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce, Ruth networks and supports other business owners and entrepreneurs, seeing the power of community at work in commerce.
As a singer involved in the local jazz scene, Ruth was thrilled to be part of the successful launch of the first-ever Easthampton Jazz Festival in March and to witness the power of community at work in the arts.
She also well appreciates those bountiful moments when local people rise up to help others—such as when local developer Jonathan Wright donated a unit of housing, free of charge for a year, to a new family of refugees. That’s the power of community in bolstering lives.
Honored to do her civic duty
A resident of Florence since 1981, Maureen is a strong supporter of local government, believing it is every person’s responsibility to be engaged, informed, and involved.
She’s a certified long-term care ombudsman, assigned to a local nursing home. She visits residents weekly to assure their legal rights are being met, although she also appreciates getting to know these folks and listening to the stories of their rich lives. And a few years ago, Maureen served as a member of the task force charged with determining the fate of the old Florence Grammar School building.
Recently, Maureen was sworn in as a new member of Northampton’s Zoning Board of Appeals, and that duty in particular makes her especially proud.
Growing up in Winooski, Vermont, Maureen’s father served as a city councilor, and his hard work and dedication to the job made an impression on Maureen. She’s always kept her eyes open for a similar opportunity to give back to Northampton and is thrilled that the ZBA is a perfect fit.
The way I do community engagement is quieter now that it once was, when I was raising my two daughters in Florence and served on PTOs and church and community groups. This, because I realized I had something to give that was bigger than brownies for the bake sale. I tell stories and raise awareness for groups that needed visibility to increase their reach and touch lives.
Now, instead of serving lasagna at the cot shelter or changing diapers in the church nursery, I contribute by writing press releases for organizations like United Way of Hampshire County. I write stories about cancer survivors and caregivers to raise dollars for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life of Hampshire County.
And I write blogs, press releases and Facebook posts for organizations in the Valley that support children, the arts and people in need.
Community does work. We are proud of and grateful for this engine that so richly and so well serves our region.