Practicing What We Preach

by Barb Laimins, Teacher Mentor Liaison

Several weeks ago, I was asked to be part of a steering committee that would work for the passage of a referendum that would renovate, replace aging infrastructure in my local high school. My initial thought was I don’t have time for that but then a little voice in my head spoke up. You should practice what you preach so I joined the committee.

Armed with my Fitbit, pamphlets and signs, I hit the streets of my local community. Knocking on doors with the belief, who could possibly be against children, education and good schools? I posted incessantly on social media while monitoring my phone, like a teenager, waiting for the outpouring of support. I cajoled my neighbors, approached strangers as they shopped wearing my Yes sticker and ventured beyond my bubble of friends who were liked minded.

There were surprises along the way. Some were fearful to put a sign in their yard because they didn’t want to sufferer repercussions from neighbors. A National Anti-Tax group made robocalls and sent mailers to vote NO despite the fact they had no information, no solutions or cared about the facts. Others, were pleased to be asked for their support. Former students joined in, placed signs and rallied their friends. Senior citizens on fixed incomes were effusive in the support to make sure students had opportunities in the future.

The committee gathered on election night anxiously awaiting the outcome. As the results trickled in, we bantered back and forth about what we did, what we should have done and what we could have done. Each of us hoping that our message had been received by those who went to the polls. When the final tally was posted, there was an audible sigh of relief quickly followed by expressions of pure joy. The referendum passed.

Reflecting on the experience, I realize I’ve become more resilient after being told no way multiple times in a row. But more importantly, I feel a stronger connection to my community, have reconnected with neighbors and made new friends. I can’t wait for the next election cycle to volunteer and be part of what we preach.

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