(Click the triangle beside each item for more details)
St Marie needs a sense of community, people working together to accomplish different tasks. Getting people together, working for the good of others can bring a great sense of belonging to individuals. Giving people something to do is good for everyone and building a place where people feel welcomed and accepted is very important to any community.
St Marie needs a church to provide spiritual guidance for the residents so they don’t have to drive to Glasgow for services. Church should be non-denominational and include all denominations of faith. Church should also offer youth programs on Wednesday evenings to give the youth a foundation built on God’s word. A church choir would also be a great opportunity for people to be involved. Church can also have picnics and fund raising activities to raise funds to donate to missionaries, or to purchase Bibles to give to others. There are so many possibilities with a good church base.
There are many widows in St Marie. Some widows rarely leave their homes. Many spend days, weeks or months in isolation from others. We need a group dedicated to visiitng with these widows, talking with them, helping them with little things around the house they might not be able to do on their own. Minor household repairs, some light cleaning, helping them to do some project they’ve wanted to do but felt was too big to do on their own. You can assign a family to a widow and just adop thtem like a grandparent and include them in holiday meals, birthdays, etc. Something to make them feel like they belong to the community. You can have people who check with a few widows before they go to town to do their families shopping and just see if the widow needs anything. It doesn’t take much time or effort to just pick up a few extra items at the store then drop them off so the widow doesn’t have to make a trip to town especially during the extremely cold winter days.
Single Mom’s Ministry
Single mom’s often need help and many have no source for that help. Knowing people in the community you can turn to when you need something can make a huge difference in a single mom’s life. Many single mom’s just need someone to talk to when things get tough. Some need some guidance in how to be a better mom. Single mom’s are often so busy just trying to make ends meet, they have very little time to care for themselves. Offering them a day off by providing some activity for their children one weekend a month where volunteers watch their children in a group setting and engage them in games or activities while mom just takes the day off to do whatever mom needs to do. Maybe mom needs to run a few errands without the kids or maybe mom needs a break and could get a massage or a haircut without having to worry about the kids. Having a night once a quarter where you do something special for the mom’s whether it’s hosting a dinner for them or you could put together an evening of pampering where someone who sells skin care products could donate their time and experience and give them all a facial. Holidays can often be difficult on single mom’s as well. Having a toy drive and donating toys for the single mom’s and then allowing them to pick out items from those donations to give to their children for Christmas. Hosting a holiday dinner for all the single mom’s and their kids is another great possibility.
There are many widows who still have plenty to offer the community. Their experience raising their families can be a valuable asset to assist a single mom. Pairing a widow with a single mother could provide many opportunities for both. The widow could be a mentor to the single mom, sharing her knowledge and wisdom she learned raising her family with the young mother. The widow could provide after school care for the single mom’s children until the mom gets home from work. “Latch key” children can often get into mischief just because no one is around to guide them. A few hours each afternoon could provide socialization for the widow as well as a safe place for the children to be supervised and work on their homework while mom is away.
If there are any homeschoolers in St Marie you can start a co teaching program where children gather one day a week for a few months and parents volunteer to teach their best or favorite subjects. Having a curriculum swap once a year gives the homeschool parents an opportunity to pick up other homeschool books or find a new home for books someone no longer needs.
Creating a space for children or adults to come and be creative. Having a space dedicated to creating arts and crafts can give the teens of St Marie something constructive to do instead of destructive. Having an art center where someone can learn to knit, crochet or spin yarn, a woodworking area, a pottery station, a sewing station, a vinyl cutting station, paper crafting station and a 3D printer can provide both children and adults with an outlet for their creativity, the opportunity to learn new things and resources to use so they don’t have to invest a lot of money in order to create something. This space would require some fees to cover the costs of consumables on projects but would be a non-profit where all the money collected would be used to continue purchasing more supplies and equipment. Volunteers with experience in different areas could teach classes on how to do different things every week.
After School Activities
Providing a place for children to be dropped off after school and to remain until their parents get home would give them the opportunity to get their homework done and give them something to do so they don’t get in trouble. Many times good children make bad choices just because there’s no adults around to give them advice or provide them with other options. Having a Junior Achievement program to teach the children about business and help them with skills necessary to obtain jobs in the future. Teaching them skills they might not learn in school such as how to interview for a job, typing skills, computer skills, or public speaking could give them valuable tools.
Various clubs could be created for different crafts. A knitting or crochet club could knit hats, mittens and scarves and donate those items to people in need. It definitely gets cold enough up here that those items could be used! A cooking or dinner club could meet where you teach others to cook or have a progressive dinner several times a year. A sewing club could sew quilts or baby blankets or doll clothes that could be donated to people who need them. A spinning club could gather to create yarn, to help others learn their craft. Any craft enjoyed by one person could be shared with others and offer a place for people who want to learn to come and get more information, learn new techniques or get advice.
A food pantry could be started and maintained so that when people experience difficulty they have a place to turn to get some food items.
The Thrift Store has already been running, but it needs more volunteers and for the entire community to support it.
Building a community farm where people can work together to grow foods, raise chickens or goats and share in the fruits of their labor would provide an opportunity for the young people to learn about farming and allow for things to be grown without one person having to do all the work. You could either earn a portion of things grown and just split the produce among workers or you could just have a farmer’s market and sell all the produce, use the proceeds to purchase needed tools or supplies. Workers should be allowed to purchase any item at greatly reduced prices if items are sold rather than divided.
These are just some ideas that could benefit St Marie and it’s citizens. But it will take people willing to get involved, volunteer and work together to create these things. When St Marie was the Air Force Base it was a thriving community full of life. When St Marie became the retirement community there were many things for people to do and a sense of community. Whatever the reason for the decline of St Marie the only thing stopping it from becoming a wonderful community for everyone is the people who live here. Complaining about what was or how things used to be will never restore them to their former glory. No one is going to come to St Marie and restore it. If you want St Marie to be a great place to live, a great community to raise a family, or something more than just a shadow of it’s former self, then you are going to have to learn to love your neighbor and pitch in and do something to help make this a better place.