When Parents Lead, Children Succeed

Focusing on Community for a Bountiful Future

Focusing on Community for a Bountiful Future

Elane V. Scott
Rick Stephens
Featured Guests:
Robert J. Sampson
Mario Small

Dear Valued Stakeholders,

Happy Thanksgiving Stakeholder Leaders! This week, as Americans, we observe a holiday of historical significance to our country. The first holiday to celebrate the abundance of the fall harvest evolved over time to celebrate family and offer thanks for the bounty in our lives. Sometimes the bounty is family, sometimes health, or financial resources, and always there’s a certain amount of thanks for the turkey, stuffing, and pie. But at its origins, this holiday began as a celebration of abundance and community. When the pilgrims and Native Americans first came together over dinner, these two disparate groups recognized their shared fate. They became stakeholders of their mutual success.

With that, the Birth2Work Radio program we are sharing with you this week is about the value in, and necessity of, community. At the recent high school drop out prevention summit that Birth2Work helped to facilitate, we actually gave CDs of this program to each of the 500+ attendees. Our guests are Robert Sampson, Chair of the Department of Sociology at Harvard University, and Mario Small, Professor of Sociology at the University of Chicago. These two are nationally revered voices in the conversation on the importance of social efficacy, that is, “the willingness of neighbors to intervene on behalf of the common good in a community,” as defined by Sampson. Both men have done extensive academic research on the topic, finding conclusively that the scaffolding supporting successful communities has little to do with money and resources. Communities thrive when neighbors look out for one another, when all adults call on all young people to be in school, when everyone holds each other accountable for keeping the streets clean. Environs matter. Discipline matters. A shared understanding among a group of people that what one does intimately affects their neighbor’s success, and that each can help his neighbor to ensure mutual success and abundance, is what the Thanksgiving celebration honors.

I invite all of you to download this program and to listen with your “holiday ears.” As you share the joys of friends and family, with everyone doing their part for the shared success of the holiday dinner, consider the value in expanding that commitment to your community-at-large. Because while the harvest might be easier to acquire today, the opportunities in recognizing and acting with the greater good of the community in mind is the same today as it was in 1621. Activities by the people for the people of a community are the best investments in its future.

Happy Thanksgiving! And here's to your future!

Elane V. Scott