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Team effort can boost community
In a recent interview, Lance Armstrong was asked how he continues to win the Tour de France. His reply was that he trains and prepares constantly, and he has a good team of people working with him. When asked what advice he would give to a competitor on how to beat him, Armstrong replied "Hire my team." I have heard other entertainers and athletes say the same thing. To win, it takes hard work, practice and a great support team.

The same is true for community development. To be effective, we have to understand the various issues that impact our community, why they occur and how we can bring about change. Implementing change requires a dedicated team that is prepared to roll up its shirt sleeves and go to work.

Understanding why our community is not as we would like it to be and how we can make it better necessitates the work of many organizations. Building a good community involves multiple issues: adequate housing, education and work-force training, jobs, safety and spiritual well being. The work is so great that it is impossible for one organization to provide everything that is needed. It requires a well-prepared team.

We have problems in Ouachita Parish, but we also have many dedicated people working to make things better. Janet Durden at United Way, Richard King at the Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana, Judy Bell at The Wellspring, Willie Haynes at the Monroe Housing Authority, Perry Perkins at the Interfaith Council and many others work tirelessly to care for the needs of the people in our community. They are the Lance Armstrongs of community development.

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