When I heard that poorer Colorado Springs neighborhoods were forming a task force to save four community centers, my reaction was typical: I felt sorry for them.
I knew about these centers. I knew that they supplied hot meals for seniors and day care for needy families. I also knew the cold reality of this situation. With the city yanking funding on March 31, this task force needed to raise over a million dollars in less than three months.
I felt bad, even guilty, watching the task force stumble through the beginning of its first meeting. Some of these folks were unemployed. Others, as one woman put it, were "counting down to [their] last $1.50 in gas."
If these people knew how to cough up a million dollars, I thought, they would have done it a long time ago and moved to Briargate. Accordingly, I expected moping and not much else.
Boy, was I wrong. The task force was rife with creativity, dedication and team spirit.
I can tell you from experience that this was no regular meeting (thank god). It was refreshing to see things being done instead of being talked about ad nauseam.
I realized quickly that these people didn't need me to feel sorry for them. In fact, watching them, I almost felt sorry for myself. What they have at these centers is rare and precious: a community. Not a "gated community" or a "planned community," but the real deal.