Editorial: The bridge that binds all of us together
By Richard Gaw
When the Bridging the Community group celebrated its 100th meeting last Wednesday evening at the Friends Meeting House on West Sickle Street, the strength of its mission – to work for the community – was in full evidence. One by one, longtime members stood up and shared news about upcoming events. First-time visitors stood up and said they were looking for ways to become involved in the Kennett Square community.
Arturo Gomez Rubio of Casa Guanajuato "bridged" about the organization's upcoming Cinco de Mayo Festival on May 3. Mary Pat Knauss of Wings for Success – now with a new location in Kennett Square – "bridged" about how the center can provide work-appropriate clothing to disadvantaged and economically challenged women, as well as job training and interview preparation. Judy Diner of the Chester County Historical Society "bridged" about work being done on an oral history initiative that preserves memories from community members who worked in the county during the 1960s. Matrie Johnson from Home of the Sparrow "bridged" about an upcoming Single Mothers' Conference.
What threatens a town's heart and soul is not measured by money, but indifference. For parts of three decades, Bridging the Community has served as a wall against apathy, and in return, has invigorated the community with optimism and voices. It was formed as – and remains – an essential idea garden for participation, one that finds employment opportunities; creates mentoring relationships; partners volunteers with events and organizations; celebrates cultures; kickstarts after-school youth programs; and opens doors for under-served groups who are seeking leadership.
"There is a land of the living and a land of the dead, and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning," Thornton Wilder once wrote. One hundred meetings and thousands of connections since its founding, Bridging the Community has written a love letter to thousands of individuals and hundreds of organizations it has helped along the way.
May that letter continue to be written, by the authors who have made it work.