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"Lift Where We Stand” - Rebuilding Communities in 2024

24 December 2023

Years ago, Dieter F. Uchtdorf, a religious leader, coined a great phrase that can take on many meanings. He used the example of many men attempting to move a large grand piano. Unsure of how to move such a heavy piano, one of the men said, “let’s gather around the piano and each of us will lift where we stand”. In doing so, they were able to move the large grand piano as needed. 


As we stand on the threshold of a new year, the idea of "Lift Where You Stand" can take on renewed significance in our collective pursuit and goal of rebuilding communities. The “Lift Where you Stand” philosophy encourages individuals to harness their own unique skills, resources, and passion to make a positive impact right where they are and right now. In the face of challenges, it is essential we recognize the power we hold to effect and encourage change.


What is the meaning of "Lift Where You Stand" in the context of our community. "Lift Where You Stand" is a call to action that emphasizes the importance of taking responsibility for the well-being of our immediate surroundings. Instead of waiting for external forces to bring about change, this approach encourages individuals to leverage their existing resources and capabilities to uplift their communities. It is a philosophy rooted in a belief that positive transformation begins with each of us individually, wherever we are, by simply lifting where we are right now. What are some examples we can show by lifting where we stand?


In many communities, access to fresh and nutritious food is a challenge. Individuals can contribute by establishing community gardens or participating in urban farming initiatives. By converting unused spaces into green patches, residents can grow their own produce, fostering a sense of community while addressing food needs.


Lifting where we stand also involves investing in the future. Individuals with expertise in various fields can initiate educational programs or mentorship initiatives for children and young adults. This could include after-school tutoring, career guidance sessions, or workshops on essential life skills. By empowering the younger generation, we lay the foundation for a stronger and more knowledgeable community.


Economic revitalization is a key component of community rebuilding. Residents can actively support local businesses by choosing to shop at neighborhood stores, cafes, and markets. Collaboration between local entrepreneurs can also lead to the creation of innovative partnerships that boost the overall economic health and vibrancy of the community.


Taking care of the environment is fundamental to community well-being. Individuals can organize local clean-up campaigns, tree planting events, or recycling initiatives. By cultivating a sense of environmental responsibility, communities not only enhance their aesthetic appeal but also contribute to the beauty of the area.


The health of a community is intrinsically linked to the well-being of its residents. Individuals can initiate health and wellness programs, such as fitness classes, mental health workshops, or community clinics. These initiatives promote a culture of well-being and resilience, creating a healthier and more connected community.


Cultural vibrancy is a cornerstone of resilient communities. Individuals can contribute by supporting local artists, organizing cultural events, or even initiating public art projects. By celebrating this creativity, communities can foster a sense of identity and pride.


In an increasingly digital world, access to technology is crucial. Individuals can work towards bridging the digital divide by organizing workshops on digital literacy, providing access to computers and the internet, or supporting initiatives that bring technology to underserved communities. This not only enhances educational opportunities but also facilitates community connectivity.


In the pursuit of rebuilding communities in 2024, the philosophy of "Lift Where You Stand" provides a guiding principle or light for individuals to take proactive steps in their immediate surroundings. By recognizing the power and resources each person possesses, we can collectively contribute to the transformation of our communities. Whether through community gardens, educational programs, support for local businesses, environmental stewardship, health initiatives, cultural expression, or digital inclusion, and other countless ways, we can lift where we stand. Through these efforts, we can build more resilient, connected, and thriving communities for the challenges that lie ahead.


John Newby is a nationally recognized Columnist, Speaker, & Publisher. He consults with Chambers, Communities, Business & Media. His “Building Main Street, not Wall Street,” column appears in 60+ newspapers and media outlets. As founder of Truly-Local, he assists chambers, communities, media, and businesses in creating synergies that build vibrant communities. He can be reached at: John@Truly-Local.org.