Enrichment and involvement: Those words define a consistent effort by Revere residents, city government, businesses and local organizations to offer activities for self improvement and social awareness within the city’s limits.
A glance at the city’s website calendar shows it is stuffed with activities for young and old. A typical day is this Tuesday when no fewer than nine local events were featured as community activities. They included a housing discussion oriented to families, a Valentine’s Day party and “Little Chef’s Cooking.”
Other scheduled events for this month include story and craft activities, teen center events, storytime art and “STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) Time.”
It’s easy to take for granted that communities offer a variety of activities for young and old alike with a price tag rarely, if every, attached to the event or activity. But every story time attended by parents and every teen center visit logged by local youth is an opportunity for the real growth that promotes community unity and growth.
People can’t get a clear view of opportunities available in the neighborhoods around them unless they attend and participate in community events. Attending Video Game Club gets a semi-isolated adolescent out of the house and promotes socialization. Attending Little Chef’s Cooking class offers an opportunity for a parent with limited opportunities to spend time around adults for an hour.
When tragedies and disasters occur, the media and civic leaders talk about communities “coming together.” Those opportunities to rally and show unity give way to tough questions that start with the words, “What if — ?” “Why didn’t we — ?” At the root of these questions is the realization that the tragedy or disaster might have been avoided if community unity and the communication that springs from it had been consistently and vigorously practiced.
A good starting point for unity and communication is offering plenty of opportunities for people to gather, learn, engage and have fun in their city or town. “Drop-in Playtime” or “Tic-Tac Splat” sound like trivial ways to spend an hour or two. But they might be the opportunities that give a retiree who is at loose ends a chance to engage with a grandchild and meet other seniors.
An hour spent doing something childlike is also an hour spent away from grown-up problems and grown-up worries. The greatest value of community-sponsored activities is inspiration they generate: The mother who attends a play group gets certified to open a daycare. The senior citizen who takes a teenage grandchild to STEM Time might just be the grandparent who rediscovers a long-dormant skill and ends up sharing her or his experience a couple of hours a week at a local skill.
Revere deserves credit for packing its community calendar with great activities and, thankfully, its example is replicated in cities and towns across Massachusetts.