Written by Cassandra Sales, Direct Service Provider, Compass Cares
As people we are constantly seeking greater connections. Some say that we are more connected than ever before but I disagree. If connection were Iron, our world would be anemic. How can that be you ask, social media is literally everywhere! We know what Bob had for breakfast, the shirt Alex bought from Ross cost him $7, and Peggy Sue is on her 4th boyfriend in as many months. We simply need to log in and in minutes we know everyone’s business!
The greater question is, are we truly connecting? In doing the work I do everyday, I have a firm understanding of where we are lacking in the world of making quality connections. Connection is an action. It is not something done passively through logging in and reading what others are doing. While many believe they are building connections as they scroll, and take time to “like” or comment on a post, I cannot help but feel that they are letting life pass them by. Then again I have the advantage of working with creative people like Janice Crawford, who is actively creating community connections through her actions.
Janice is an amazing human and a master at connections! Janice volunteers driving the hospital van for patients to get to and from appointments, she’s a loving compassionate mom, and one of Janice’s best qualities is when she sees a need she meets it! Recently, I had the privilege to be a part of an amazing project called the Learning Institute where a member of the “Little Free Library” organization gave a presentation encouraging community contribution. When asked who might be a good partner for this project, Janice was my top choice. She loves her community and this was just another way she contribute to it.
The “Little Free Library” arrived at our office in Yreka several months ago. It came in a flat box and was NOT ready to go into the community. No worries, Janice picked it up, and assembled it herself with enough skill and precision to make any woodworker proud, but putting it together was just the beginning!
What exactly is the Little Free library? It’s a place where people can come get books, or leave a book, but it is so much more! A Little Free Library on a corner or in front of someone’s house or business is an invitation to share, it is a common meeting ground to swap a book and a story. A Little Free Library is a place where a struggling single parent can find a new book to share with her kids and maybe find a book of their own to relax without the worry of over spending.
The little Free Library is a way to help unprivileged children access their imaginations through books, to make it easy for the little old lady down the street have a new literary adventure, it’s a way to for the literary genius to let go of his precious books and know someone who really wants to read it, has access to it.
Janice is a respected builder of community, and she knew exactly what to do with that flat box! In her desire to advocate for deeper community connections she has created something magical a safe spot where everyone belongs. Janice is a natural at the being her own “Little Free Librarian” because she has spent so much time contributing to her community. She is always adding to her library stock through donations from her community. She listens to people and is always on the look out for that special book. Janice and her “Little Free Library” has created the community conduit that helps children find a new favorite story, and assists ladies in finding that perfect romance novel but more than that Janice has taken a small space in her community and filled it with a adventures and dreams to share, and in the process made everyone in her community feel cared for. Every action taken towards connection creates a better tomorrow…….. And tomorrow looks pretty bright because of Janice and her willingness to take action toward community connections.