The Transylvania Times -

Project Empathy

Time To Listen

 

Last updated 9/14/2020 at 4:38pm

Project Empathy, in collaboration with The Transylvania Times, seeks readers’ input on ways to improve how we all get along as neighbors. Every Monday, starting Sept. 7, through the end of October, The Transylvania Times will devote space for individuals to respond to the following questions. At the end of two months, ideas and recommendations will be summarized and presented to the Transylvania County Commissioners, City of Brevard Council members and town of Rosman Alderman. Anyone from Transylvania County may respond. Unlike “Opinions of the Readers,” this is not a place for voicing political positions or criticism of different individuals or groups. The goal is to identify actionable ways to make Transylvania County a better place to live.

Individuals may answer all or some of the questions. And because many individuals may be hesitant to share what they are doing – they may submit a response in recognition of affirmative work others may be doing.

a. Name

b. Contact email address (will remain confidential)

c. What are you most proud of regarding your neighborhood or community (geographic area such as a community center, church, social or business organization or social group)?

d. Thinking about Transylvania County, what one thing or action do you think would help improve the way we get along regardless of where we come from, our skin color, faith, education or economic background?

e. What are you personally doing (or will do) to help make your community a better place?

Please note – this is a non-partisan effort and is not a forum for political comments or endorsements. Responses should be addressed to [email protected]

Chuck Gilmore

What are you most proud of regarding your neighborhood or community?

I am most proud of the way our community has conducted itself during this recent period of national unrest. Yes, strong opinions are expressed in venues like letters to the editor of The Transylvania Times. Yet in ways large and small so many of us continue our lives in support of each other. Work continues at all of our many religious institutions, charities and service organizations by folks of all political stripes, races and beliefs pitching in to help. The help continues to flow in the forms of volunteering and financial support. Nothing speaks louder to the understanding that regardless of our differences, supporting our neighbors in their human need is essential to the wellbeing of us all.

What one thing or action do you think would help improve the way we get along regardless of where we come from, our skin color, faith, education or economic background?

Once this pandemic crisis is behind us, and it will be eventually, I would like to see greater effort toward finding ways to include all of our neighbors, of all cultures and backgrounds, in our community activities. I hope that leaders of our many festivals, other gatherings and activities may find ways to reach out to those of our minority communities for ideas that could expand the enjoyment and cultural understanding of all county residents. For instance, invite leaders from minority communities to street festival planning sessions. Ask them for ideas about booths or presentations that could be enjoyed by all and help immerse the majority in the pleasures of other cultures.

What are you personally doing (or will do) to help make your community a better place?

At the current time I am participating in Project Empathy, searching for paths to foster better understanding of all of our community’s many sub-communities and their members.

Theresa Morgan

What are you most proud of regarding your neighborhood or community?

For a community as small as Brevard, I continue to be impressed with the number of organizations that support the needs of the challenged segments of our population e.g., Bread of Life, Sharing House, The Haven, Boys & Girls Club, Rise & Shine, etc. I am also proud of my own church, Sacred Heart Catholic, for its ongoing programs for worship, study, community outreach, as well as efforts to keep in touch and support parishioners who are sick and homebound. Given the spirit of this community, I am sure that other churches are just as actively engaged in programs and services.

What one thing or action do you think would help improve the way we get along regardless of where we come from, our skin color, faith, education or economic background?

One of my favorite community-wide events that left a profound impression on me the first time I attended was the Christmas Dinner at Sacred Heart Catholic Church which was free and open to everyone. What impressed me was that it welcomed everyone, not just the disadvantaged. It was moving to see a cross section of our community sitting, eating and serving together. I think those of us who are well-off enough to do charitable work tend to “do for” who qualify as “deserving” of whatever is being offered. I think this sets up and reinforces the “us” and “them” dynamic. This is rather a round-about way to recommend a community-wide social gathering.

What are you personally doing (or will do) to help make your community a better place?

I personally volunteer in multiple organizations and financially support several. However, current COVID restrictions have severely limited volunteer activities.

Kathleen Barnes

What are you most proud of regarding your neighborhood or community?

I am most proud that 80 people in Transylvania County have joined together for the NAACP's program called The Road to AntiRacism. I'm deeply touched that so many people are willing and eager to explore innate racism, white privilege and societal bias right here in our community and band together to change themselves.

By changing ourselves, we change our community and our world.

What one thing or action do you think would help improve the way we get along regardless of where we come from, our skin color, faith, education or economic background?

Finding a place to talk and interact and know each other as individuals.

What are you personally doing (or will do) to help make your community a better place?

Walking on the Road to AntiRacism with those 79 other people to find a way, to make ourselves better neighbors and friends, to understand each other’s struggles and to make Transylvania County a more inclusive community.

Kae Parker

What are you most proud of regarding your neighborhood or community?

I am most proud of this county's commitment to young children and families and to developing resources to support them, no matter their situations.

What one thing or action do you think would help improve the way we get along regardless of where we come from, our skin color, faith, education or economic background?

Listening to the ideas, dreams and needs of others and recognizing that children, in particular, do not have “bootstraps” to pull up. Children need the help of caring family and committed community to come into this world and to thrive.

What are you personally doing (or will do) to help make your community a better place?

I am on several boards and committees that focus on children and families. These committees are not just talk...they are actively involved in making this community a place where children and families are seen and heard. Children are the future of our community and are important to the life we all want for our city, county, neighborhood and country. When we focus on children and their families, it is like planting a tree that we may never see or sit under, but that tree will shade those who sit under it in the future. Early childhood is a time of tremendous importance for our children and our future!

Laura Carper

What are you most proud of regarding your neighborhood or community?

The commitment of our teachers to kids. Teachers are doing everything in their power, including putting their health at risk, to show up for their students.

What one thing or action do you think would help improve the way we get along regardless of where we come from, our skin color, faith, education or economic background?

More mental health services for all ages, especially younger children and teens.

What are you personally doing (or will do) to help make your community a better place?

Teaching yoga to youth to encourage self-awareness, self-compassion and kindness, and teaching sexual violence prevention in TC schools.

 
 

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