Little known fact about me, I have spent 4+ years of my professional life (1997 – 2001) making pizzas in a variety of Italian restaurants as well as Dominoes. If you don’t believe me, ask GlutenHatesMe how often I spin random things around the house on my finger…
Anyways…as crazy/hectic/chaotic as it was working in the kitchen of a restaurant, there was something that I really came to appreciate. If you can sit back for a second, you can see flow of how things and people move about the kitchen, a quiet undercurrent of organization that goes into make peoples food.
I’ve come to realize the same thing about community development work, and even more so about this project of establishing a school-based health center in a Wake County high school. I’ve realized that just wanting it to happen, even working with a group of youth who passionately want it to happen, is just the beginning.
It is really exciting to see the pieces of this project, the pieces of the community move and shift into place. There are key people that are necessary to make something like this to happen: a fiscal sponsor, a community advisory council, the school health advisory committee, the local health department, the local hospital, and so on and so on. These are all people who are vital to this process.
Though, not vital because these are people who make the important decisions for community. But because we want this project to be sustained long after we are done with this project. We want a school-based health center to be established, and to stay. These people are not just going to help make this decision for the community, these people are going to help keep the pieces afloat after our project has ended.
Because isn’t that what sustainability is, facilitating growth outside of yourself or your group so that the people who impacted by these types of services can keep it going once you are gone…working yourself out of a job.
This project is turning out to be a great learning experience for me and even more so, I love watching the way this kitchen (community) flows. Pieces are coming together slowly, but that is ok. If there is anything that I can say about this process is that it extremely important to do the work, take the time, plan effectively, bring people in in the early stages, because this is going to make sure that things will be around long after you are gone.