Boise continually graces top rankings for livability, places to do business, outdoor accessibility, and other lifestyle features. It is great to be recognized on the national scale in these categories, but there is a lot more to the story.
I think it goes without saying that 2020 has been troublesome and unforgiving for many of us. Many of our friends, neighbors, and family members have struggled through the public health crisis and economic turbulence. If you have not been directly impacted, you likely know people who have.
As we round out the year and head into 2021, I am mindful of the separation, loss, and grief throughout our community. During these difficult times, our acts of humanity can build stronger sense of community. From longtime residents and newcomers alike, I often hear that Boise is a friendly, close-knit community. This does not happen by chance.
We have seen healthcare workers and frontline heroes sacrifice so much this year. They have put their own health on the line to care for community members and their families. After hours, these same workers considered how they might give back to the Treasure Valley’s most vulnerable during a time when distance and disconnection have been necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19. In the fall of 2020, Healthcare Share Treasure Valley donned inflatable costumes to dance and entertain seniors outside care facilities. The parade delighted the residents and created demand for more events for seniors throughout the valley.
Teachers, students, and their families were given the challenge to move some if not all learning to online platforms. Schools are the pillars of our communities, especially in Idaho’s rural areas. They are not only an institution for education, but also provide critical resources for food, health, and safety to underserved populations. Treasure Valley’s teachers rose to the challenge, using communication technology to build bridges and help families navigate the disruption of 2020.
While there are many high-profile humanitarian stories, there are droves of lesser-known acts of kindness and community support that go largely unnoticed. From toy and food drives to surprise Christmases, community members are finding ways to connect while still abiding public health restrictions. Neighborly acts such as pitching in to help with snow removal, or providing a meal during a temporary illness, can be lifelines for many people. Smiling or waving at a neighbor may seem like a small gesture, but it could be just the thing that gets them through a tough time, and I see this happen all over our valley.
We need each other more than ever. There is much to celebrate but still so many who need assistance. It is impossible to know each person’s need during this time, however, I can share a resource I believe to be invaluable. A friend shared with me the link to a website called Self Rescue Manual. The site offers a comprehensive list of businesses and organizations, in English and Spanish, that serve the public with critical resources. This resource does not take the place of a neighborly act or the support of your family, but in the case that you may not know where to turn, this may give you a place to start.
Our community is not perfect, but at our core we are guided by the values of kindness, charity, and resourcefulness. These pillars are Treasure Valley’s heart, and that is why many people are choosing to call it home.