Today’s special blog post comes from Communities In Schools President Daniel Cardinali.
Like many people, I listen to NPR as I drive into work. This week NPR ran a series of reflections about those who have lost loved ones in the tragic events of 9/11, among them, a student and teacher from a local school here in D.C., and a Franciscan chaplain to the New York City Fire Department.
Each morning this week I have arrived to work teary-eyed, bewildered by the senselessness of it all. But I’ve also been overwhelmed by that extraordinary ability of the human spirit to use tragedy and loss to positively transform the world around us, and ourselves in the process.
The principal from the school of the teacher and student talked of her efforts to work with the community to rename the school in their honor. The man who eulogized the chaplain reflected on the chaplain’s unfailing gratitude for life and how he now tries to live out of gratitude. In all of these stories, those who experienced painful losses have chosen to transform their sorrow into a positive and powerful stance towards life.
It’s so simple to write and so deeply difficult to do.
I am reminded of the thousands of Communities In Schools site coordinators across the country who have just started the school year. In my 12 years at Communities In Schools, I have had the privilege of meeting hundreds of these unsung heroes. Like many of those who’ve been touched by the tragedies of 9/11, Communities In Schools site coordinators know how to transform tragedy into human triumph. They are highly skilled at building loving relationships with young people whose lives are often filled with pain. They guide and care for each of them, helping them believe that hope and love and success can be part of their lives. Again, it’s something so simple to write, and so very challenging to do…every day.
Yet it is every day that thousands of Communities In Schools site coordinators love some of the nation’s most challenged young people, despite all that has happened in their lives. As we commemorate the heroes of 9/11, it’s encouraging to know that we have such extraordinary heroes living among us doing transformative work.
On Sunday, we’ll remember the terrible events of 9/11 and appropriately grieve. On Monday, let us turn our hearts and minds to channeling that grief into transforming our communities into communities rooted in love and justice.