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    Building a Strong Community
    Entry posted August 26, 2011 by Lauren617Elite Contributor, last edited August 31, 2011 
    Building a Strong Community

    Whether it be your neighborhood, your kids’ school or you workplace, there are several things we can all do to help build a strong community:

    • Respect other members;
    • Offer support to those who need it;
    • Share resources and knowledge;
    • And have a little bit of fun!
    We made each of these compontents a priority when we first strated commonground. As we matured, it became clear that we needed to step it up a notch. Here's how we are responding.

    We’re rolling out a mentorship program. Now, all members who are new to the industry have a place where they can connect with some of the brightest, most experienced environmental consultants in the field in a nurturing environment. Our mentors include several of our Executive Committee members as well our commonground University facilitators. In a field that values experience as highly as ours, it is vital that the next generation of professionals benefits from the knowledge of today’s leaders.

    For the first time, commonground has a structured giving program. I am personally very proud of this. By partnering with, we will be supporting classrooms in high-poverty communities. Our giving is targeted towards improving science curriculums to help build the next generations of professionals as well acting as a lifeline to schools in cities and towns that have been particularly hard-hit by environmental contamination. We are donating $1 for every new member we add until mid-September as well as for every new LinkedIn group member, Twitter follower, and Facebook fan that connects with us. After just a few weeks, we’ve raised enough money to buy headphones for all of the computers at a Binghamton, NY school library. As many of you know, Binghamton has been impacted by VOC plumes stemming from its industrial past for the last decade. Finally, we’re doubling up our giving by sending 2% of all commonground University and Environmental Service Directory revenue to the cause.

    Here is todays’ take-away: when it comes to bolstering a community, it doesn’t take a lot of money or a lot of time. Helping a fellow member with an answer to a question may take you 2 minutes and save them several hours. For less than $200, we can help an entire school full of kids in a needy neighborhood learn next year.

    This blog is well timed, as many of us on the east coast are bracing for Hurricane Irene. I actually ran out this morning and picked up some cat food for my 81 year old neighbor who “adopted” the neighborhood stray last year. It only took me a minute, but was such a big relief to her—and Cato, as she’s been named.

    How else can we bolster our community? We are always looking for new ideas and like the two that we’ve acted on above, the best ideas are usually a community effort!