It’s Easy to Make a Difference in Times Like These

It’s Easy to Make a Difference in Times Like These

One of the wonderful things about an Arlo Guthrie concert is that he loves to connect with people at least as much through talking as through music-making.  The treat within the treat is that he occasionally drops spontaneous pearls amidst his down-to-earth, often hysterically funny patter.

Not so many years ago, Arlo dropped one such pearl: When times are good, it’s hard to make a big difference, but when times are hard, it’s really easy.  When the world is a mess, the smallest positive action can be more powerful than we might ever predict or dare hope for.  Some positive acts look immediately profound and life- or world-changing – volunteering to feed needy children and families at a local soup kitchen or giving some of your time at a local shelter for the homeless, for example.  Other positive acts are a step removed and don’t conjure up such visual images, but are no less profound, and it is these acts that I write about here.

It is simply and sadly true that the number of hard working poor in our communities is growing.  Nearly 10% of our Southeastern Connecticut families are living in poverty according to federal definitions, and another 25% – one out of every four families – do not make enough to keep up with basic needs, despite being employed and working hard.  These are the families that make up the vast majority of clients served by Child and Family Agency and, given the eroding funding for Connecticut’s safety net human services, many of our staff pour their hearts and talents into this work while themselves not making a living wage.  Through a couple of simple acts you can make a big difference in the lives of our client families and our “all in” dedicated staff who serve them:

  • Donate by visiting our web site: childandfamilyagency.org . In the best-case scenarios, State subsidy funding to our various office-based, school-based, intensive in-home, child care, and after-school programs will continue to erode over the next several years, and donated dollars help us to close the gap.
  • Email the State legislators representing your district with a simple message: Please don’t balance the budget on the backs of Connecticut’s most needy individuals and families, and on the backs of the private, non-profit providers who care for them. Right now is an effective time to send these emails, since the legislature is right in the midst of working on next year’s budget.  Waiting closer to the May 4th end of this legislative session will have less impact.  Click on this link to find your legislators: https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/cgafindleg.asp .

The children and families we serve are looking for a fighting chance to stand on their own two feet and walk with a little hope toward a brighter future.  However simple, our greatest acts of generosity and advocacy may be those that impact the lives of those we will never meet.

Written by Richard D. Calvert, MSW, LCSW, Chief Executive Officer

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