Collaboration can find solutions to local problems


The Grandmothers Roundtable has had many successful forums over the years. The primary reason for each forum was to educate and raise awareness so the community could move forward to address local concerns.

The forums were like a social connect-the-dots, if you will.

Everywhere and everyday we hear of and experience more cutbacks in public and private services — Walla Walla is no different.

During the last year we’ve invited many people we heard about who have tackled problems on a grass roots, individual level. They had formed groups that addressed specific porblems in neighborhoods.

As a result, some individuals connected with others to form groups that address a specific problem.

We are impressed and amazed at the persistent and creative drive to effect positive changes. Much of what has been done requires volunteers to reach out to the community where the problems existed.

It need not have had to be a large problem, just a problem that could be addressed to bring forth a solution for those involved.

When services are cut aimed at meeting the needs of families — food, shelter, clothing and safety — fewer people can get help. These things could be called issues.

Creating a solution to deal with local issues requires conversations — and brainstorming — from the people involved.

Talking over issues is well served if the pros and cons are aired. The Walla Walla Valley residents have successfully dealt with some issues by communicating among themselves and then collaborating with nonprofits, local law enforcement and city and county governments on a plan that will lead to a solution.

Some clever examples of local successes include:

The creation of a dog park.

Raising funds to try to save the Pioneer Aviary.

Making improvements to Jefferson and Washington parks so they can be enjoyed by those in neighborhoods.

The Moms’ Network.

Commitment to Community and Blue Mountain Action Council.

Collecting of hundreds — no, thousands — of rolls of toilet paper for distribution to food banks and elsewhere,

Local churches hosting food banks and lunch time meals for those who can’t pay.

Tabitha’s Closet at Christ Lutheran Church on Second Avenue where those needing formal wear for proms or other events.

Dress a Living Doll.

Food drives by the Realtors and postal workers.

These are only a few of the positive things done in the valley to serve the Valley by grass roots involvement. Grass roots means you and me.

Perhaps we don’t get involved because we don’t know about the needs or about the groups tending to the issue.

Issues may start out to be contentious but can morph into successful collaborations to benefit all. It does require an investment of personal effort but, as mentioned above, it may not require a huge investment to have a positive outcome.

A little investment of sweat by many can become a positive solution for an issue. Dependence on the city, county or the famous someone else to magically know what is needed is not the solution. No one is a mind reader.

Issues are a call for action. Discussions of issues can be a catalyst to solutions. All sides need to be heard. Awareness alone can be a powerful motivator for individual action in collaboration with others who share the same concerns.

Perhaps it is time to have a future forum that would allow the public to see and talk with the faces connected with issues of the valley. At present, we are only aware of a few issues and the people connected with them.

We would appreciate feed back from the public on issues that need to be addressed locally. Several Grandmothers have volunteered to take information to compile a list to enable us to gather a true roundtable of people interested in addressing specific concerns.

There might already be an active group that would appreciate your help and suggestions. We want to hear of the existence of groups addressing specific issues already.

Contact Pat Yenney at (509) 529-6505 or or Sarita McCaw at 525-3349.


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