Noteworthy: Post-election Activities Full of Positivity, Unity

News from the Noteworthy

Post-election Activities
Full of Positivity, Unity

The midterm elections are over, or mostly over, as tight returns leave many state and federal races close and uncertain. I, for one, am very glad that pre-election coverage and political mailings have ceased and we have voted.

We can now get back to our jobs, our community, and our lives, where real things happen, where we can make a difference to a person and to our community.

During election week when ads for candidates were forcing all of us to look at extremes, where candidates were pictured in stark contrast by both parties, where reason and facts were driven out by hyperbole…I had the opportunity to listen to our community, to the people of our community, our friends, our neighbors. We were not talking about the elections (though it may have been on our minds). We were talking about community.

The day after the election was a day filled with events for us at Springbrook.

At Springbrook’s family engagement center, we had a celebration of life for a dear friend, a man who went to school in Morris, who participated in our community and lived in Earlville with dear friends. He was supported by his incredible family and the many friends he developed in his too-short life. Faced with many adversities along the way, he maintained a positivity and good will that was palpable. Remembrances shared were focused on his contributions and his approach to life and life’s problems. He made friends because of his optimism, his good will and his kindness to others.

Over 90 people gathered to remember Matthew—people who, the day before, may have felt polarized from the person sitting next to them. Joined together, we shared in the joy of knowing Matt and his family. Old friends brought together despite differences, political or otherwise, were united and caring for Matthew’s family and each other.

That Wednesday morning, I attended a breakfast for more than 45 area not-for-profits, sponsored by the Community Foundation of Otsego County.

The event was led by Jeff Katz, executive director of the CFOC, with an introduction by SUNY Oneonta President Alberto Cardelle. We joined to talk communally about challenges each organization faced, challenges our county faced and innovative solutions. The one challenge we could all identify was the need for more money! One would have thought that would have silenced many in the group. Not so!

I led a group that left me inspired by the people dedicated to our region and their cause. From the Film COOP group, to Delaware Chenango Madison Otsego BOCES, to Otsego Rural Housing Assistance, we shared our experience, perspective and ideas. It was amazing the connections that were made, the depth of our community, and the positivity of the group. No name calling, disparaging comments or negativity. We listened to one another and learned from hearing one another’s viewpoints.

On that same Wednesday, I had the great joy of giving a tour of the school at Springbrook to Hartwick College’s new President Darren Reisberg. A tour of the school is always a joy. The staff are amazing, the students engaging, and the hard work and challenges cannot go unnoticed. President Reisberg’s interest in what we do and how we can work together to accomplish our goals ignited new thoughts and ideas because of his commitment to work together to create a better community.

I feel so very fortunate to have spent the day after the election with positive people, willing to listen and learn. People who did not jump to conclusions or create conflict, who sought common ground and understanding. People making a difference, doing their best, lives well lived and loved. People not assuming the worst, but expecting the best.

Patricia Kennedy is Springbrook’s chief executive officer.

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