Giving Back to the Community

Communities for Restorative Justice get an award, Community Chest collects toys, and the United Women’s Club holds a fair.


So I recently bought a new car – my 12-year-old minivan finally died on me – and my new car has heated front seats, and I have to tell you, I am loving them! It is not even officially winter, and I have been using them prodigiously. My tushy is so warm and cozy, I never want to leave my car. It may have cost me a little extra, but it’s a price I’m willing to pay if it gets me through the long, cold days ahead.

Speaking of paying a price, there’s a group that knows a lot about this, and it’s the Communities for Restorative Justice (C4RJ). This is a group that brings together community members, police departments, crime victims and offenders to create a positive outcome from an unpleasant situation.

They’re about getting justice, but in a way that works for everyone. They’ve done such a great job with this that the Concord-Carlisle Human Rights Council has chosen C4RJ to receive this year’s Climate for Freedom Award. The award will be presented next Monday morning at 7:30 a.m., at a breakfast over at the Trinitarian Congregational Church. And here’s the best part, by my reckoning: The event is free and open to the public.

What a great way to hear all about the great work being done in our community by this dedicated group of volunteers, and to maybe think of ways to support them in the future. Jennifer Larsen-Sarwin, executive director of C4RJ, will share some of the transformative stories of justice, so come listen and learn. It sounds inspiring.

While You’re Out Shopping…

Here’s the thing: I love going to the Annual Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting Event put on by our town each year. It’s always festive, and our downtown area, with its lights and its 17th century buildings, looks like something out of an old-fashioned Christmas story. Vendors are giving out hot chocolate and cookies, Santa is strolling around, people are happy and it just gets me in the holiday spirit. But it took me several years to realize that the Concord-Carlisle Community Chest was ALSO collecting new, unwrapped toys for kids who needed them. Yes, it’s not just about the pretty tree!

The Parade and Tree Lighting happens this Sunday, December 2, starting around 4:45 p.m., with the actual tree lighting happening around 5:15. So while you’re out this week, consider picking up a toy to drop under that newly-lit tree, and the Community Chest will get them to their worthy recipients. And if for some reason you can’t make it to the tree lighting, you can always drop those toys at the fire station or the post office; they’ll be happy to distribute the toys for you.

A Double-Double

I figure, as long as you’re shopping, might as well do it in a place where the money will go to something meaningful, and that would be the Harvey Wheeler Center this Saturday, Dec.r 1. Because that’s when the United Women’s Club – our own group of dedicated women who know how to turn a craft or two – bring together their array of goods to sell to raise money for their scholarship fund. Yes, these fabulous women make jewelry, hand-knit sweaters and mittens, American Girl doll clothes, tree ornaments, and home-baked goodies, and then turn around and give the money to deserving high school seniors -- $8,000 worth!

I got to know about this group through my good friend Jill Henderson, herself a tireless volunteer both here and other places, who has an eye for artful details. Their items are high-quality and well worth a look, so take a minute on Saturday to drop in, buy something, and support the scholarship fund. Totally worth it.

Last reminder

Don’t forget to stop by the library’s Holiday Book Sale, running Friday through Sunday – great used books, low cost presents, a win-win all around.


Do you have something you would like to share? Contact me at stefanieac@comcast.net and I will be happy to help you spread the good news. And follow me on Twitter: @stefanie3131.


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