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Hit this idea out of the park

October 11, 2013
By KYLE TENNANT - Community Columnist ( , Tribune Chronicle |

Every once in a while, you get thrown a slow pitch you can really hit out of the park. Such opportunities are rare, but when they come, it is incumbent upon all of us to swing hard and hit that ball over the horizon.

Over the past few columns, I've tried to push all of us to seriously consider our own responsibility for the transformation of our city and our county. I've tried to show how transformation happens when ordinary people live their ordinary lives. I've tried to cast a vision for ways that we could all be a part of making Warren great again, not by going back, but by moving forward.

And then, the slow pitch comes. Recently, while perusing Facebook, I discovered that Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership is in the running to win $10,000 from Tom's of Maine's 50 States of Good initiative. By simply voting online everyday, an organization that is doing a whole lot of good in our city, and our region could get a boost in its efforts at revitalization. What's so great about this contest is that you simply have to have enough votes to be in the top 15 non-profits to win.

If we were smart, we would all make it a point to log on to the Tom's of Maine website daily and cast a vote for this exceedingly great organization. We'd write it on our calendars, and set alarms on our phones, and put post-it notes on every hard surface to remind ourselves to do everything within our power to make sure that Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership doesn't just win the money, but gets more votes than any other organization in the country.

But I've been familiar with Warren long enough to know that this will not be the case. It's not that we lack intelligence or the resources; it's just that we don't care. We just aren't motivated.

We gave ourselves over to apathy a long time ago, resigned ourselves to low standards and expectations, and that's why we're in the situation we're in. So, if Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership does win a prize, we'll win by being in fifth or sixth place, instead of first. Because we've given up expecting more for ourselves, we just don't think we're worth first place.

This, friends, is the very poison of 'Stuck in Ohio' thinking. Instead of taking responsibility for our own actions or inactions, we pass the blame to "them," whoever "they" are - civic leaders, politicians, the government, your annoying neighbor, whoever.

But if we were to choose to take our responsibilities of citizenship and stewardship seriously, voting in an online contest would be the easiest of our many efforts to making our city a better place. Getting on Facebook-which many of us do on a daily basis anyway-to find the 50 States of Good page would be the simplest part of our routine of working for a revitalized Warren.

Friends: look closely and you'll see a pitch that you could hit with your eyes closed, even if you, like me, have little coordination. Let this be the beginning of a routine in which you do everything you can to serve our city and to revitalize our region.

Tennant is a Warren resident.



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