By Alexa Holliday:
With only about four months of service with Energy Corps behind me I have already grown and learned in so many ways. One thing that has been on my mind lately is the importance of strong and sustainable communities.
Serving for Home ReSource has instilled upon me the vision of their mission: To create a vibrant and sustainable local economy. I am grateful everyday to serve for an organization that connects with the community through economic, social, and environmental equality for all present and future generations.
When I think of what it takes to build and maintain a strong community, I envision everyone working together to help each other with small personal projects, large community-wide efforts and everything in between. I imagine strong connections between people and a sense of hope and happiness in every individual. Community to me means we are all in it together. If one person is struggling mentally, physically, socially, fiscally, etc. the community works together to help solve these issues. Missoula exhibits a lot of these traits and I feel very fortunate to be part of this community
I have heard some people say, why would I want to help others when I have enough problems of my own? Well I believe when you help others often you will receive something in return — that is what community means to me.
In the past few weeks I have seen first hand how working together can strengthen communities towards creating social and environmental equality while spreading joy and hope.
This past week, the Energy Corps team embarked on a roadtrip to the Cheyenne Reservation to do light weatherization of homes. This included installing plastic window insulators, metal door weatherstripping, led light bulbs, outlet gaskets, and water conservation measures.
Our efforts seemed minimal compared to the repairs needed in many of these homes but each family was extremely grateful for the small amount we were able to help and the experience gave us the opportunity to brainstorm more ideas of how we can further serve communities in need.
A wise resident of Lame Deer came to speak with us on our last evening on the reservation. He started his visit with a prayer in his native language, then told us the importance of learning from our ancestors because of the wisdom behind our roots. He also shared with us that he chooses to act with his heart and it is most important to find gratitude for everything in life.
Not only did this strengthen my belief in the importance of learning from diverse cultural perspectives, but it reminded me of how vital making connections with others is to remind of us of the most important things in life — this life lesson was of gratitude.
I am grateful for many things. I feel fortunate to live in a community where many others see the same vision as I do.
I also have hope. Being part of a movement that builds upon strengthening communities makes me believe that Missoula will continue to thrive and grow to be a vibrant and sustainable local economy.
I believe that these strong community ties can not only provide a huge impact on towns and cities but can be utilized to help other communities. If each individual sees the value in being part of a community and seeks to help others in return for support and happiness within, we can also spread our community support to serve in other communities around Montana, around our country and even make an impact on the world.
With each gathering of people, with each act of kindness and gratitude, with each shared piece of knowledge, I see communities growing stronger. We can all do our part to continue to positively grow by acting as examples of what we want to see in the world. This can be done through sharing our unique perspectives, choosing to be actively involved, and showing care and compassion for about each and every life on our planet.
Alexa Holiday graduated from the University of Montana in 2014 with a B.A. in Environmental Studies. Previously to joining Energy Corps, she served as an Americorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) member. With Americorps NCCC, Alexa provided educational support for elementary schools in Arizona and Colorado and created a solar energy exhibit for a children’s museum in Texas. Alexa is currently serving at Home Resource. She will support Missoula in becoming a Zero-Waste community and act as the primary youth educator for a waste reduction