CiviCO Session 4 – Shadow Day
I spent the day with Hana Sayeed and Tony Gherardini, two exceptional professionals who work for the State of Colorado and deal a lot with Human Services. It was a day termed a “Shadow Day,” and it wasn’t what I was expecting based on the name.
We visited a Youth Service Facility. You may be more familiar with these under the term “Juvenile Detention Center.” What I saw there was heartbreaking as a parent, and I’m not comfortable sharing the experience.
I am comfortable sharing this; all of us are failing when kids as young as 12 years old are being incarcerated. So how do we not fail?
It’s a complicated question, and I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I know expecting the government to solve these problems on its own will not work. As business and community leaders, we MUST step in and assist our communities in helping fund education and enrichment programs, provide affordable service options for families in need, and make sure that we provide our employees with jobs that allow them to take care of their families. Our responsibility is to make sure the communities we work in are robust, stable, and well educated; otherwise, we won’t have a pool of quality employees to draw from. When our towns and cities are strong and healthy, so are we. We can’t just look to the next quarter or year if we intend to survive as business owners. We need to work with the state and local governments to strengthen our bonds and ensure today’s kids aren’t languishing in a correctional facility or leaving their hometowns to find opportunities elsewhere. We must look to public-private partnerships not just to maintain but also to improve the places we call “home” and provide opportunities for the people who live there not just to survive but to succeed.
If you have ideas on how businesses can work together to strengthen their communities, I’d love to talk to you about them, and if you need ideas about how your business can help, I’d love to talk to you too. I firmly believe that it is long past time for us to be “leaders” because we happen to own or run a business, but to lead by example and show our communities that we are here not just to make a profit, but to build a better world.