• H2 Staff

CiviCO Session 4 - Shadow Day

I spent the day with Hana Sayeed and Tony Gherardini, two amazing professionals who work for the State of Colorado, and deal a lot with Human Services. It was day that was 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”. As a parent, what I saw there was heartbreaking, and I’m not really comfortable sharing the experience.

What I am comfortable sharing though is 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 do know expecting the government to solve these problems on their own is not going to work. As business and community leaders we MUST step in and provide assistance in our communities to help 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. It is our responsibility to make sure the communities we work in are strong, 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 with them, and ensure today’s kids aren’t either languishing in a correctional facility or leaving their home towns to find opportunity elsewhere. It is imperative that we look to public-private partnerships to not just maintain, but improve the places we call “home” and provide opportunities for the people who live there to not just 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 believe firmly 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.

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