Focus Louisville – November 2011
As a newcomer to Louisville I was excited about taking part in the most recent Focus Louisville program. Getting the chance to learn more about my new home town and all it had to offer was certainly appealing. Being able to do so in the company of others who were equally committed to being community leaders was truly a bonus.
The program itself was rewarding and memorable because we did far more than just talk about Louisville. We went out into the various communities and immersed ourselves in the history, culture and personality of Louisville. In the process we not only learned a lot about this city and what it has to offer, we learned just as much about areas of need.
One element of the Focus Louisville program was a visit to several schools and social service agencies. That part of the program provided the balance we needed to understand the full scope of this great city. Yes, Louisville boasts great restaurants and opportunities to enjoy the arts, nightlife and all sorts of entertainment. But there are also issues we face as a community. Homelessness, challenges within our education system, substance abuse and violence on our streets are just as real as Fourth Street Live, the KFC Yum Center and the Derby.
What became clear to me pretty quickly was the fact that the participants of Focus Louisville had the potential to do more than just be ambassadors for the city. We also had the power to affect change. We cannot wait for someone else to solve our problems. We cannot sit on the sidelines and talk about what needs to be done. If we are truly leaders in this city then we have to step up our game and take our leadership roles seriously.
My challenge to my fellow Focus Louisville classmates was simple. There are plenty of people talking about our problems. Let’s be different. Let’s shut up and do something. Anything. Volunteer for a social service agency. Mentor a student. Make a difference, no matter how small. Those collective small differences add up and become the inspiration for change. I am pleased to report that about half of our group has taken action and gotten out into the community to do what they could to help. That is the hallmark of a true leader and exactly what the Leadership Louisville programs are all about.