You are here

Two Words: Community Action

Dreams are for bedrooms and bar stools, as I like to say. Working in social services means community and action.

Being a part of Gateway Community Action Partnership for 20 years has provided life lessons and given me opportunities to put career skills to practical use daily to benefit individuals and families who came to us for help.

The biggest lesson learned came from part of our agency’s title: Community and Action- two words that guide our every decision. We always need to be thinking of actions that we can take to improve our community. To me, Second Chance Toys embodies community action as well.

Second Chance Toys has become a valuable asset to us. They have networked with our community stores, schools, volunteer groups, and even called on our resources too.

What are the results of their efforts?

  • Eliminate landfills from filling with quality toys.
  • Encourage families to help other families through meaningful donations.
  • Empower students to volunteer for the greater good and see the value and impact of community service first hand.
  • Enlist businesses to help in ways they didn’t think possible.
  • Bring smiles, laughter, happiness and hope to children and their families.

Others may have thought to do these things, but Second Chance Toys actually did them. This is not just about handing out toys, this is about handing out hope. 

Social services mean helping people plan for a better and brighter future, but it also means providing help and hope in real and tangible ways right now. Help and hope that enable people to keep the faith until that better tomorrow is a reality.

Seeing the surprise and delight on children’s faces when they realize these dream toys are really theirs to keep leaves a mark, one that I call to mind on bad days when the rats seem to be winning the rat race. Seeing the parent’s appreciation is wonderful too, but the appreciation goes beyond the toys themselves. They have a look of hope, a look that says they know they are not alone with their struggles and that others are there to help.

The toys are meaningful and magical, but it is the sense of community in action that the toys represent that really matters.

Author: Michael Cudemo, Vice President/Planning at Gateway Community Action Partnership