Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Blog: Stories Offer Some Inspiration

Despite some heavy times and sad stories, in the last month and a half, I’ve done a few stories that offer up quite a bit of inspiration for the dark and dreary days ahead.
One of my favorite parts of this job is going into a story unsure of what to expect from it and coming away having met someone amazing or hearing a story that resonated the kind of meaning that stays with you for the rest of your life.
For example, I was going to the Geauga Senior Center to find a few interview candidates for a regional story about traditional Christmas cards versus e-cards or not sending cards at all, and walked in at the tail end of an exercise class.
There were about two dozen senior citizens sitting in chairs and doing various breathing and arm exercises while I stood on the sidelines waiting for the class to be through.
I remember thinking to myself, wow, I bet there are so many amazing stories right here in this room.
The four people I spoke with and included in my story were charming, funny, and did, indeed, have a few anecdotal stories, including one of the women telling me she basically BS’s – though she actually did say the word – most of what she writes in her cards about what she’s been up to the past year.
Or when Russell Township resident Rosemary Mariola’s face turned wistfully sad as she recalled the previous year and how losing her husband that year influenced her decision not to send cards out for the first time in 30 years.
Not long after, I had the pleasure of interviewing Donna Peterson, a single mother of two children who is well on her way to moving out of public housing and into her own home due to help from the Family Self-Sufficiency Program of the Geauga Metropolitan Housing Authority.
Peterson is also working as a licensed practical nurse at Northfield Village Retirement Community, but hopes to continue her education to become a registered nurse.
I have enough trouble taking care of myself, my dog and cat, let alone two kids on limited income while working through schooling.
Luckily, Peterson has a helping hand that she is utilizing the way it’s meant to be used, but nonetheless, it’s stories like her’s that makes me feel I can pull through many of my own hardships or any that may come if I’m determined enough.
Just this past week, I wrote a story about how with unemployment rates being so high for so long, volunteering has increased in several organizations in both Lake and Geauga counties.
In addition, Kenston Schools just purchased the first hybrid school bus in Ohio, which will tie right into their other green efforts including a large wind turbine for the high school.
That’s not to mention the Willoughby Police Department pushing efforts to get more automated external defibrillators for its patrol cars after an AED in a Wickliffe police cruiser saved the life of a full-time Willoughby dispatcher last year.
While to some, it may seem like society has become more and more apathetic over the years or it’s been one sad piece of news after another, stories like these remind me it’s all in where you look.

-- Cassandra Shofar


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