when you see community ? “C” MAY / J U N E 2 0 1 4 69 by HILARY ZUNIN When Napa Valley CanDo was just a year old, we offered members an opportunity at our annual gathering to create a physical representation of our hopes and dreams for community. To make visible the threads about which Herman Melville spoke when he said, “We cannot live by ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads.” With a makeshift loom, a colorful array of yarns and some creative thinking, participants wove a net to support the features and concepts they’d selected in small group discussions. To those interconnected threads they added characteristics like compassion, safety, resiliency, diversity, and opportunity for all. Members prized kindness and generosity, honesty and respect, all qualities that help create communities that are greater than the sum of their parts. This spring, as CanDo celebrates its fifth birthday, we do so as a brand new 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We’re recommitted and re-energized by the work our volunteers have been doing to help the communities of the Napa Valley prosper. Reflecting on what’s at the heart of so much of what we do to foster community, we might say: Connection: There are so many ways to connect, to keep in touch. Without connection, we’re all prisoners of Pete Seeger’s “little boxes on the hillside.” At CanDo, communication is designed to “ease the path from intent to action” and to connect in many formats. CanDo’s weekly email newsletter features volunteer opportunities and intriguing community events. Our Facebook page is updated daily with more news you can use and ways you can help. We respond quickly to emails and phone calls, and invite interested folks to small monthly gatherings where Core members work to keep things moving forward. Napa Valley Life sponsors occasional “CanDo Conversations” open to members and friends. No agenda; no volunteering. Just scintillating conversation and delightful nibbles. And don’t forget the ever-popular one-on-one sit downs where a cup of coffee or tea nurtures the perfect old school connection. Collaborati on: No man or woman is an island. Communities are stronger and more capable when individuals and organizations collaborate in an atmosphere of trust. Case in point? CanDo, Clinic Ole, the Napa Sanitation District, Family Drug, and Kaiser Permanente have collaborated to provide five collection sites for unwanted, unneeded and out-of-date medications. Volunteers transport them to Household Hazardous Waste rather than seeing them end up in our landfill, water, or in the hands of those who should not have access. Our plastics initiative, encouraging ordinances throughout the county to eliminate most single-use plastic bags, has required the strong collaboration of volunteers, consumers, community leaders, forward-thinking businesses, environmental groups, and municipal organizations. In another environmental effort, To learn more about Napa Valley CanDo go to www.NVCanDo.org, email NVCanDo@ gmail.com or phone 707.252.7743 what do you CanDo’s Waterways Keepers team up with Napa County’s Resource Conservation District, Napa Flood Control, Vintage High School and others in creating clearer, cleaner waterways. Interested in these and other CanDo environmental projects? Visit NVCanDo.org. Creative thinking: Communities that thrive have the courage to innovate. They respect what’s been done, learn from past efforts and open new doors. Napa’s thoroughly delightful Porchfest is one such example. This is not a CanDo project, but it’s one more example of creative community action. Local musicians perform on the porches of local homes in a free, all-volunteer music festival. Napa’s Porchfest, modeled on a similar event in Ithaca, New York, was the first such event in California. It’s scheduled this year for July 27 from 1–6 p.m. Learn more at Napa Porchfest’s Facebook page. And speaking of making connections, collaborating and thinking creatively: We have just two words (or is it one?): Give!Guide. CanDo’s 2013 Napa Valley Give!Guide strove to raise funds, especially from new and young donors, raise awareness, and foster collaboration between 40 local nonprofits. In November and December this past year, through a catalog distributed via Napa Marketplace and a website we dubbed a “portal to the possible,” CanDo brought nearly $100,000 to local groups doing critical work in Napa County. All this designed to help inspire a community of givers. Our 2014 Give!Guide is already underway. Want to know more? Email us at NVGiveGuide@ gmail.com. These are just three “Cs” that we see as essential to a flourishing community. They, along with the CanDo spirit, go a long way to describing why we’re proud to call the Napa Valley home.
To see the actual publication please follow the link above