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Douglas County

A Familiar Hum

by: Marlin Bates
      County Extension Director/Agent, Community Development
Marlin Bates

Lawrence, KS - Thank you for taking a few minutes to visit this newsletter from all of us at K-State Research and Extension – Douglas County. We’ve been busy in a new, but familiar kind of way. And we hope that you’ll find a way to join us in our century-old adventure as we partner with you, the people of Douglas County, Kansas, to provide solutions for the challenges we all face.

     Recently, we have begun to notice something that we’ve missed. As your appetite for emerging from the pandemic has increased, we have enthusiastically met you with an opportunity to engage. You have been coming in to see us instead of calling. Our programs have been inviting you and your neighbors into the community. We’ve been running into you at celebrations and other social gatherings. The resulting commotion has been electric. Suffice it to say that we hope there is never another need for social soundtracks or playlists meant to remind us of this familiar hum. This is a sensation that cannot be induced except through genuine connection.

     This reminds us of the necessity of community in our lives – even where it’s chaotic and loud, unintelligible layered conversation and the white noise of a crowd is a quintessentially natural and necessary experience. We benefit from social connections that draw us out of isolation and into community because they provide us with a sense of purpose and belonging. They also help us understand and appreciate diverse perspectives.

     Regardless of where you stand along the continuum of readiness to participate in social events, we are prepared to engage with you. Within this newsletter, you’ll find opportunities to gather virtually and in person; programs that will connect you with experts and fellow learners; and community conversations that are aimed at wicked problems that require your involvement. Our staff stands ready to assist you with the issues that you face, and we’re very excited to help the community address issues that affect us all. As we approach this work, we look forward to building community cohesion and uniting our efforts to move the needle on social and economic inequities more than we ever have before.

     So please consider this invitation to participate. We know that you have something to offer and it’s our job to help you find a place to make that contribution. Certainly, along the way, you’ll bump into chaotic commotion – and we hope that you’ll embrace it as a signal that all is well.