Participate in local government

I was cold and tired, and the last place I wanted to go that Friday night was the mission. I had promised I would be there for their night of testimony, however, and made myself go. I was so glad that I did.

The Warren Family Mission’s men’s and women’s programs are faith-based programs to help individuals overcome addiction. Individuals who have been part of these programs told their stories. Parents of a young woman who is close to completing her year at Hannah’s House also spoke.

To be honest, hope and cynicism battle daily in my heart. When I see the sadness of our world and of our community specifically, hope starts to lose that battle. When I heard the testimonies of the men and women at the mission, hope rallied. Each person’s story was unique, but the theme that ran through all of them was redemption and restoration.

Restoration is what we need, isn’t it? Restoration of our community. How do we get that?

Ten years ago when Randy Law was running for mayor of the city of Warren, his campaign ran a commercial, ”Morning in Warren,” that was a takeoff of the Reagan campaign’s “Morning in America” commercial from 1984. I love the morning metaphor – the idea of a new start for our community.

We definitely need to elect good public servants. However, with all due respect to Mr. Law, “Morning in Warren,” “Morning in Trumbull County” doesn’t really start with just the election of a candidate. It begins with citizens educating themselves about what is going on in our community and getting involved.

We need to investigate what is happening – the good, the bad and the ugly. Find out the individuals and organizations that are doing well in this area and support them. Tell others about them.

Educate yourself about what is going wrong in our community and why it is going wrong. Attend your trustee or council meetings so you know who your public officials are and what they are doing. It can’t be stressed enough that people need to understand for whom they’re voting and why. Every citizen should know exactly who all his current elected officials are and what they are doing. Don’t wait for the campaign season. It is our responsibility as good citizens to be informed.

We also need to inform others. We each have a circle of influence, and we need to be like Paul Revere and proclaim what we know to others. Encourage them to educate themselves about any public officials who are not acting like public servants.

We also need to get involved. Volunteer for those organizations that are working to make our community better. Attend government meetings as I mentioned before. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and offer solutions to problems. Consider running for office yourself if you find your elected officials lacking.

Our community has some great people, but many of them have just given up. They are like I was a few years ago. I felt like I couldn’t change anything, so why bother? I put my head in the sand and just tried to live my little life out in Farmington. When I took my head out of the sand, the view was discouraging.

Quite frankly, it often still is. I do know, however, that if I do nothing, nothing will change. I also know that if more of us pull our heads out of the sand and get involved, hope will win that battle over cynicism. We will have our “Morning in Trumbull County.”

Yoder is a West Farmington resident. Email her at