Charley’s World Episode Twenty-Nine

As the Learning Center grew, Charley began to realize that some additional funding would be needed. So far the Center had existed on a very limited budget. Sandra’s foundation had supported minimal salaries for Charlie and Nellie. Other expenses were very modest. The Center existed on the support of volunteers and donated furniture, books, toys, and other items.

The move to online learning had been a huge success, but also presented a problem. The Center was going to need information technology, and for that they would need additional funding. Charley put together a Progress Grant proposal to the state. He felt confident that the proposal would be funded because of the impact the Center had already had with limited resources.

When the proposal was rejected, he was devastated. In cases like this, he sought out the wisdom of his long-term mentor. Homer was an astute observer of the local community. After Charley told him what had happened, Homer gave him an insight that he had not been aware of. “Charley, you are disturbing the basic way this community has always worked. You are giving hope where despair has always existed. You are cancelling out the grievance culture that has always existed. You are lifting up where we have always pushed down. You have opened up opportunities where none had existed.”

Charley was both proud and confused. “I don’t understand. Based upon what you just said, why would the Center be rejected for funding?

Think about what you’ve done. Our local leaders have gotten elected because they stoke the fears of voters. They portray themselves as the answer. In reality, they like the community the way it is. But they are masters at manipulating public opinion.

What you are doing is showing that a grassroots initiative can be an alternative. You are showing people how they can lift up their own lives. They don’t need to look to local leadership for help. I know you are not political, but you are poking a hornet’s nest.

While Charley was beginning to appreciate the situation, he was confused as to what he could do. As always, Homer had advice that made sense. “Keep poking,” he said.

And that’s what Charley did.

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“Raise up the people beside you and quit worshiping those above you” – Chris Brogan (Author)