When helping others, you gain more than you give

by American Falls Schools

Superintendent Randy Jensen

My mother taught me as a young boy that when you reach out to help others you gain way more than you give.

This past Saturday I had the good fortune to participate in the first of many Opportunity Community Conferences which will change the future of our small town by bringing us closer together. This was one of my best days.

The conference was the culminating event of six months of dedicated work by so many wonderful community members to accomplish one goal; giving those in need of hope, encouragement, and confidence a path forward.

American Falls is the 50th city in the United States and the first in Idaho to implement the Opportunity Community Model. The basis of this model is trained volunteer community members (navigators) who work with community members living in poverty (neighbors). Through friendship, sharing connections, and encouragement, my hope is that by working together we can all help our community members achieve their dreams and goals.

Over 75 community members have agreed to be navigators and specialty navigators. The connection between the neighbors and navigators at the conference was special. The ease at which they connected was an amazing sight which touched all those in attendance.

Conference facilitator Dr. Donna Beegle was inspiring as she shared her story of being raised in a migrant farm labor family in extreme poverty. The event was equally inspiring to Beegle. This was the message she sent to me as she boarded a plane back to Oregon:

“What a phenomenal life-changing day. There were so many moments, but one of the most poignant was the young woman with the short silver and purple hair sitting next to her mother. She gave me a dirty look when she arrived and it was clear she did not want to be there. In the end, she hugged me and cried in my arms. Healing.”

I want to thank all of those who worked so hard to ensure the success of the event. American Falls is an amazing community because of the wonderful people who live here and are willing to grow together.

Superintendent Jensen was asked by American Falls Mayor Marc Beitia to fill in for him for this week’s Our City column.

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