Jul. 10th, 2012

missroserose: (Book Love)
Like much of rural Arizona (i.e. places that are Not Phoenix), Bisbee's a pretty low-income area. The median household income here is just under $28K, or only a little over half the national average. Brian's and my household income took a huge hit when we moved here thanks to my un/underemployment, but we're still firmly in the top 25% of earners here. Additionally, there's little infrastructure or aid to be had from either local or state government; they'd all planned their budgets around the obscene property taxes they were collecting during the housing bubble, and are therefore still reeling from the sudden evaporation of that anticipated money. (Visiting Alaska made the contrast especially stark; they're both "frontier" states with some definite similarities in attitude, but Alaska has a well-funded and relatively well-managed government that actively works to build infrastructure and has numerous programs to help its rural areas. Arizona has far less cash coming in, and what does come in through taxes or grants from the Feds is almost exclusively kept within Maricopa County, a point of some resentment for the rest of the state.)

I'm not writing about this to complain; one of the things that I really love about this place is that, even without a lot of ready cash, people here do their best to pull together and make a community anyway. Lots of potluck dinners, lots of live music, lots of inexpensive classes for yoga or dance or art of all sorts. But there are absolutely some downsides, especially if you're a kid - geographic isolation, very few things to do, very little money for new programs - they can only afford to keep the schools open four days a week.

That's why I'm posting a link to this fundraiser for the Community Montessori School here in town. This is grassroots work at its finest - a bunch of people getting together and saying "This situation sucks. What can we do to change it?" and then actually working to change it. I know many of them personally, and have helped with the renovation work on on the house they're renovating - it's a beautiful building and is going to be a fabulous school. Additionally, Emily Munoff, the proposed director, is both eminently qualified and one of the sweetest and kindest people I know. They've been working on this project for four years, and they're getting very close to opening; hopefully this fundraiser will help put them over the edge.

One would hope that this goes without saying, but I'm not posting this with an inherent expectation of contributions from anybody, nor am I going to think less of anyone for passing on the opportunity. I don't think anyone in my LiveJournal friendslist lives in this area, so none of you have particularly close ties to what happens with the community here, and we all know how many worthy causes there are for any spare cash you might feel like donating. But I wanted to post it anyway, because it gives me heart to see people actively working to change a crappy situation, and perhaps to inspire others to do the same. They did it...maybe you can too.
missroserose: (Book Love)
Like much of rural Arizona (i.e. places that are Not Phoenix), Bisbee's a pretty low-income area. The median household income here is just under $28K, or only a little over half the national average. Brian's and my household income took a huge hit when we moved here thanks to my un/underemployment, but we're still firmly in the top 25% of earners here. Additionally, there's little infrastructure or aid to be had from either local or state government; they'd all planned their budgets around the obscene property taxes they were collecting during the housing bubble, and are therefore still reeling from the sudden evaporation of that anticipated money. (Visiting Alaska made the contrast especially stark; they're both "frontier" states with some definite similarities in attitude, but Alaska has a well-funded and relatively well-managed government that actively works to build infrastructure and has numerous programs to help its rural areas. Arizona has far less cash coming in, and what does come in through taxes or grants from the Feds is almost exclusively kept within Maricopa County, a point of some resentment for the rest of the state.)

I'm not writing about this to complain; one of the things that I really love about this place is that, even without a lot of ready cash, people here do their best to pull together and make a community anyway. Lots of potluck dinners, lots of live music, lots of inexpensive classes for yoga or dance or art of all sorts. But there are absolutely some downsides, especially if you're a kid - geographic isolation, very few things to do, very little money for new programs - they can only afford to keep the schools open four days a week.

That's why I'm posting a link to this fundraiser for the Community Montessori School here in town. This is grassroots work at its finest - a bunch of people getting together and saying "This situation sucks. What can we do to change it?" and then actually working to change it. I know many of them personally, and have helped with the renovation work on on the house they're renovating - it's a beautiful building and is going to be a fabulous school. Additionally, Emily Munoff, the proposed director, is both eminently qualified and one of the sweetest and kindest people I know. They've been working on this project for four years, and they're getting very close to opening; hopefully this fundraiser will help put them over the edge.

One would hope that this goes without saying, but I'm not posting this with an inherent expectation of contributions from anybody, nor am I going to think less of anyone for passing on the opportunity. I don't think anyone in my LiveJournal friendslist lives in this area, so none of you have particularly close ties to what happens with the community here, and we all know how many worthy causes there are for any spare cash you might feel like donating. But I wanted to post it anyway, because it gives me heart to see people actively working to change a crappy situation, and perhaps to inspire others to do the same. They did it...maybe you can too.

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