Taking care of our neighbors
Listening led to unexpected help
About two years ago, a lady came to the conference center where I work. Over a cup of coffee, she explained her project to build a recreational center next to ours for an association that offers horseback riding for people with disabilities. I listened as she talked about permits, fundraising, her hopes and dreams, and the future layout of the paddock.
This encounter started a relationship between our two centers. As they began construction, they needed water and electricity for the workers, so we offered ours.
Last year, while designing a logo for our center, we decided to ask her for their input. When one day she stopped and came over, I thanked her for their ideas.
She then spoke about their latest challenges: the high cost of the back paddock and aboriginal land rights.
Before leaving, she mentioned that she and her husband owned a printing company and that they would sponsor our logo production!
I thanked her and assured her we would be thinking of them regarding their challenge with the paddock.
Some days later I decided to call the city council, asking if I could speak with the mayor. A few days later the mayor called back, and I explained our neighbors’ situation. She said that they would be entitled to one of the small monthly grants the council gives to associations. She would ask the head of finance to call me.
A week later, the finance lady called, and I explained to her the situation. She said it was a worthwhile project and that we should come together to her office to discuss it. Before she hung up, she said, “And you, your center … You are entitled to a small grant, too!”
I couldn’t believe my ears!
Soon the horse-riding center opened. They asked if they could use our parking lot and invited us to come for the ribbon-cutting ceremony and a horse-riding display. It was an opportunity for me to personally meet the mayor and thank her for all her support.
Margaret Brown, Melbourne
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