EDITORIAL: One Schenectady to serve many

On Monday, the Schenectady Inner City Ministry (SICM) kicked off its free summer lunch program in the city.  Here, volunteers Harvey and Mary Alexander ask kids which kind of sandwich they prefer.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
On Monday, the Schenectady Inner City Ministry (SICM) kicked off its free summer lunch program in the city.  Here, volunteers Harvey and Mary Alexander ask kids which kind of sandwich they prefer.

We hope by now you’ve gotten a chance to read Robert Carreau’s guest column in Sunday’s Gazette entitled, “Community can come together as One Schenectady.”

Mr. Carreau is executive director of the Schenectady Foundation, a charitable trust founded 57 years ago by community members to assist in the health and well-being of the citizens of Schenectady County. The Foundation provides grants and supports local initiatives to address community needs, ranging from food insecurity to neighborhood blight.

As the leader of this organization for the past decade and a member for nearly 30, Mr. Carreau has seen what works and what doesn’t when it comes to building community relief efforts.

His experience has led him to this new initiative called “One Schenectady.”

He hopes that the immense challenges posed by the covid outbreak can lead to a long-term, sustainable, transformative effort to meet the needs of the community in the future.

We won’t repeat the column here. You can read it on the front page of last Sunday’s Opinion section or by clicking here.

But essentially, what he said is he hopes to build upon the existing culture of service to ensure that nonprofits, government agencies and individuals can work together to serve their communities more effectively and more efficiently.

He hopes to forge ahead with systemic change by building trust among all stakeholders through consistency and transparency, by developing a shared vision of those directly affected by particular problems, through investment in a collective effort, and by working toward a more efficient and less duplicative approach that will require institutions to give up ‘turf’ for the greater community good.

Such a focused effort will be worth far more in terms of government savings and achievement of goals than the cost it will take to move it forward.

Through this collective rededication of purpose and approach to serving the community, Carreau said he hopes to reinvigorate the spirit of voluntarism and inspire businesses and individuals to contribute.

If you’re reading the column, you might think such an effort need be limited to this one community, Schenectady.

But all communities have people in need. All have citizens and businesses and institutions willing to lend a hand. All have efforts in place to help now.

There’s no reason the same concepts from “One Schenectady” can’t be applied to a “One Niskayuna” or a “One Glenville” or a “One Amsterdam” or a “One Clifton Park.” Name your town.

Use this inspiration and this road map to build upon what you have in place to serve your own communities even better.

Then as you build upon this effort in your community, share your ideas, experiences, successes and failures with others.

The winners will be the people you help and the lives you improve.

We’re all in this together – as one.

Categories: Editorial, Opinion

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