By Trina Bianchi
As we see some light at the end of the very long COVID tunnel and spring emerges in our brave little state, life is looking way better than it did two or three months ago. People are getting the vaccine, protocols are being lifted, and we are starting to see some normalcy return to our lives. At the same time, I’m guessing I’m not the only one who during the past year has rethought what life is all about and am now thinking about a “new” normal with some shifting of priorities. Sometimes a forced break from the daily routine makes us realize there are more important things to consider, and changes to be made as a result are found to be truly positive.
We also need to take stock and make sure that, when the next pandemic or crisis hits, as a town we are even better prepared than perhaps we were for this one. To that end, it’s time to take the results of the Resilience Survey that many of you completed and come together to talk about these and the ideas people have about making changes, doing things differently and/or adding enhancements in our town.
The Charlotte Community Partners (CCP) are taking a couple of steps to start this ball rolling. Recognizing the importance of everyone who wants a vaccine being able to actually get the vaccine, through the dedicated efforts of Jim Hyde and Susanna Kahn, we now have a program called VaxHelp 05445. This is designed to help Charlotte residents register and/or sign up for a vaccine, answer questions about getting the vaccine, and provide transportation to anyone needing a ride to their appointment. Three easy ways to access VaxHelp:
If you don’t need help in getting the vaccine, but you know someone who does, let them know that assistance is available and totally free. We have volunteers ready, willing and able to help you get the protection you need from this virus.
The next step CCP has taken is to sponsor a series of community conversations over the next three months. Each discussion will focus on one of the five survey categories and will be an open conversation of all interested residents. Sessions will take place by Zoom; all residents are welcome and invited to attend.
If you did not have the opportunity to take the survey, now is your chance to add your voice and ideas to the discussion. This is an incredible opportunity to talk about what you love about our town, what you don’t like or don’t feel meets the needs of your family, what you think could be done better or differently in our town—this is a once in a lifetime chance for everyone to have a voice in making Charlotte an even better place to live and raise a family.
Participating in these discussions does NOT commit you to anything—it is simply a fabulous opportunity to be able to talk with other Charlotters interested in making our town the best place to live. Not sure what some of the categories are about? Not sure how they affect you and your family? Not sure what you might have to offer to the discussion? Plan to come, if only to listen. You might be surprised that you have a lot to offer and have suggestions no one else has even thought about. ALL voices have value. ALL residents have ideas and opinions. These open discussions are THE place where voices, ideas and opinions can and will be heard.
We hope you will put the first session on April 28 on your calendar. Watch for dates of the others to be scheduled and join these discussions. Change happens when people care enough to participate! If you truly care about our town, you’ll come!
All events will take place at 7:00 p.m. on Zoom. The link can be found on the Charlotte Library website (that’s the easy way!). As the other dates are scheduled, we will publish them here, put them on the Charlotte Library website and in Front Porch Forum.
Scheduled: April 28 COVID-19
Scheduled: May 17 Basic needs and services
Scheduled: June 1 Environment and natural systems
Week of June 14: Physical infrastructure
Week of June 28: Community connections and capacity
Prior to each session, we will share in our Charlotte News column the survey section being discussed next along with all the results. As you may recall we had 181 respondents. Both the actual number of surveys for each category are noted along with the percentages.
We hope to see you at the Zoom discussions—we DO want to hear from YOU! In the interim, stay safe, stay well—enjoy the ever-changing landscape that spring in Vermont brings us.