Community Spirit: Showing The Best of Us

By Recker McDowell —

There is still a lot of uncertainty regarding when and how schools and colleges will reopen for the new school year.

There is also a lot of uncertainty for many students on when and how they will continue their educations including going to college.

The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on jobs, livelihoods, and of course public health. Beyond COVID’s health ramifications, many college students work in jobs adversely impacted by the pandemic, closures and pullbacks in travel and consumer spending have hit restaurants, bars, retail, and service businesses hard. Those are industries that employ a lot of high school and college students who are saving up or working their way through school.

So, it is great to see GateWay Community College in Phoenix launching a grassroots Emergency Student Fund. The college has raised more than $13,000 for the fund just to help students in need.

We should also point out that community colleges across the country educate and train nurse and other health care workers who have been on the frontlines during the pandemic.

GateWay is part of the Maricopa Community Colleges, which has a district wide effort, to help students impacted by COVID-19. Other colleges and universities have also launched assistance programs.

But it is especially good to see grassroots efforts and individual good works.  COVID-19 and all the tensions and turmoil we are going through has at times brought out the worst in us.

Tantrums over masks, vindictive social media posts, media grandstanding and fear mongering and a collective focus on political, social, and racial divisions all come to mind.

But there are also so many moments showing the best of us. Frontline workers showing patience and compassion. Communities helping small businesses, food banks, local artists, and seniors.

The GateWay program may not amount to a huge amount of dollars, but it shows the best of us. And we need plenty of that right now.