Tag Archives: community

Aging: A Continuum of Growth, Part 1

My growing up culture involved living and working around the elderly. My grandmother, a nurse, administrated a county nursing home for the low income elderly and before that she administrated a home for the indigent aged. I have beautiful memories of accompanying her on her rounds and I loved conversing with the residents. Through my grandmother’s actions I learned to appreciate the stories, passion and general companionship of my aged friends. Most of all I learned respect for people of all ages. My mother, also a nurse, upheld and modeled this culture as I grew up. I actually ended up working my way through college as a nurse’s assistant in a nursing home. Even for the most non-functional bed-ridden patients, I would treat them with respect as I cared for them, including talking to them even if they could not talk back. I would often volunteer to work holidays in double shifts so that my colleagues with children could have some time off – and I loved the work and being with the residents during those holidays when their families did not show up to visit.
In my first 20 years of life, I experienced life, love, compassion, energy, illness, dementia and death. Most of all I experienced the model of intergenerational relations that influenced my continued growth.

Fast forward to my adulthood where I have spent all of my career working with youth, the other end of the spectrum. Through my experiences, I have learned to love and respect the energy, passion, love, creativeness, inquisitiveness and yes the rebellion – along with the challenges they face – of my students (many of them are grown up now and have children – in some cases adult children!). I have loved teaching them, providing housing and food for some of them who were abandoned, playing with them, getting to know their families, helping them apply for college and find jobs and becoming their friends as adults and watching them continue to grow.

Early in my activism life, I came to know and respect Indigenous Elders. Within the community of my Indigenous friends, I have experienced a wealth of knowledge and passion for the life that is given to us from our Mother. I have witnessed the culture of appreciation, community and respect between the generations.

I am blessed. I have a rich repertoire of memories and experiences that span the age spectrum that continue to shape me as a person. As I grow into elder-hood, I appreciate the lenses I have been afforded through my experiences. One of the most important things I have learned, and have vastly improved upon but still struggle with sometimes in moments of my own heated emotions, is the art of listening, even when I don’t agree. And not just to listen, but to sit back and reflect on what I have heard. Often It is not easy to do this.

My hopes and desires regarding the figurative passing of the torch is that we all – of all ages – work together and harness the collective love, passion, energy, wisdom, caring, ideas and fortitude to continue the work to protect life on our planet.

Bea Gaddy and My Wish

Bea Gaddy doesn’t have anything to do directly with our Community Coat Exchange.  Bea Gaddy has everything to do with inspiring me to serve our community.

As a younger woman growing up in Frederick County, Maryland – about 50 miles west of Baltimore, I would watch with intrigue each Thanksgiving as the local news would air the piece about the huge Thanksgiving Feast organized by this amazing woman – Bea Gaddy. ( I have linked to her story and other sites below.)

Each year I would continue to be inspired by the stories published about Bea Gaddy and her efforts.  I would think to myself “I want to be like her when I grow up.”

I learned in 2005 about a community event in Rhode Island held every year the day after Thanksgiving – the Buy Nothing Day Coat Exchange.  Inspired by it, I organized Utah’s Annual Community Coat Exchange held each year the same day, the day after Thanksgiving.  Each year of its existence I see that our Utah event is growing by leaps and bounds.  It is amazing to me the outpouring of support by people from all over for this effort.

And now Coat Exchange events are held coast to coast – with events in Kentucky and Oregon, in addition to the Rhode Island and Utah events.

As I have been reflecting on this event,  I have come to realize, on a small scale and relevant to my world, that my wish has come true, thanks to everyone in my life who has influenced me – my amazing and wonderful husband, my parents, my grandmother, my siblings, my children, my wonderful friends, and others in the world who have inspired and influenced me….

I have grown up to be more like Bea Gaddy.

My desire  is to continue to grow and serve our community in ways that all people will benefit from educational efforts such as the Community Coat Exchange. I hope that others feel inspired to serve the neighbors in the communities in which they live.

deessignature

 

 

 

 

Bea Gaddy Places:

Bea Gaddy Bio

Bea Gaddy Women and Children’s Shelter

https://i1.wp.com/www.nathanielturner.com/images/New_Folder/bee.jpg

 

 

This article is originally hosted at: https://coatexchange.org/serving-the-community/

While written in the past, I post this each year.  Everything in it still stands.  Peace.

 This article appeared in City Weekly’s 5 Spot
city weekly coat exchange
Coat Exchange With Deanna Taylor
By Rachel Piper

Six years ago, Deanna Taylor (pictured, center) organized Utah’s first annual Community Coat Exchange. The coat exchange takes place every year on the day after Thanksgiving (also referred to as Black Friday or Buy Nothing Day) at Library Plaza from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Coats are being collected now at four drop-off points, and on the day of the event (Friday, Nov. 26) people will be able to donate coats, exchange a coat or take a coat—no questions asked.

How did the coat exchange first come about?
The coat exchange was inspired by a colleague of mine in Rhode Island who has been doing this for 14 years. He calls his the Buy Nothing Day Coat Exchange. I thought, “Wow, what a great idea. We’re going to do this in Salt Lake." The idea is for people to come exchange a coat, also promoting the concept of reducing, reusing and recycling. And really asking people to pause and think before they go out and buy new things. What can you do as an alternative gift guide idea? At our event we also give out flyers about alternative gift ideas. So you come either exchange a coat or you come donate coats or you can come get coats.

How has it evolved over the years?
Six years ago we did our first one and collected about 300 coats. We did that one in Sugar House. It was pretty small then, but over the years it’s grown. A couple of years ago we gave out 600 coats. Last year we didn’t collect as many coats, but more people came out to get them. I think it was a sign of the economy where people weren’t giving as much stuff away, and yet there was more of a need. And we’ve added drop-off centers over the years. People really seem to like the idea and want to participate. We usually start collecting coats around Oct. 1 and we collect them up through the day. You can drop off a coat at a donation center beforehand or you can bring them to the event. We have people show up with armloads of coats. We hold it at Library Plaza because it’s a big community place. We get a lot of families.

How is this different from other Black Friday/Buy Nothing Day activities?
Before on Buy Nothing Day, I would always go out with a huge group of people to the malls and sing what they call anti-consumerism carols that are to the tune of traditional Christmas carols but had messages of the pitfalls of consumerism. And after a while of doing that every year, I thought, “I don’t know if this is actually making a difference.” People are in such a hurry to go buy their stuff that they didn’t really stop to listen to us or, when they did, they thought we were singing real Christmas carols, and when they realized what we were really singing they would just hurry on their way. And we would find a lot of our leaflets on the ground and things. I really struggled with, “What difference am I making?” It’s hard to get to people in the moment with your message, especially on that day when they’re so ingrained with buying their Christmas presents on that day. While it’s fun to do direct action like that, it wasn’t satisfying because I wasn’t sure if I was reaching anybody. I know that I’ve reached people on a variety of fronts through [the coat exchange].

Also, we call it the community coat exchange. I don’t necessarily attach Buy Nothing Day to it. Some of our partners want to remain neutral on the BND concept; they want to make sure that they’re reaching out to everybody and they’re not turning anybody off. So it’s kind of a strategy. We do it on BND on purpose, yet we’re really trying to focus on this is a community event. Please, as you’re cleaning out your closets, as you’re going to shopping malls, as you’re going to patronize places today, really give pause and think about what you’re doing, and see if you can give consideration to getting involved in a community project instead.

What are your hopes for this year’s coat exchange?
I hope that we get a lot of donations. I was a little disappointed last year that our donations were less than the need. It’s kind of sad for people to come and there’s not anything for them, yet they have this need. We also direct people to where they can find things, resources. My biggest hope is that more people will stop to think about their spending habits and the whole idea of consumerism and how it dominates our society. And really rethink how they money and use and buy material things: Do I really need to spend money, or is there something here in my own household that I still need to use before I go out and buy that new thing? Is there a way I can bring my family together without tons of gifts that are bought new? Are there other things that are just as meaningful? It’s trying to make this paradigm shift from “buy buy buy” to what’s really important in the world.

For more information about the Community Coat exchange, visitCoatExchange.wordpress.com/about . Drop off centers are located at: Free Speech Zone (411 S. 800 East), City Academy (555 E. 200 South), The Oakley School (251 W. Weber Canyon Road, Oakley) and Brighton Resort (12601 E. Big Cottonwood Canyon Road, Brighton).

Community Coat Exchange

This article appeared in City Weekly’s 5 Spot

Coat Exchange With Deanna Taylor

By Rachel Piper

Six years ago, Deanna Taylor (pictured, center) organized Utah’s first annual Community Coat Exchange. The coat exchange takes place every year on the day after Thanksgiving (also referred to as Black Friday or Buy Nothing Day) at Library Plaza from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Coats are being collected now at four drop-off points, and on the day of the event (Friday, Nov. 26) people will be able to donate coats, exchange a coat or take a coat—no questions asked.

How did the coat exchange first come about?
The coat exchange was inspired by a colleague of mine in Rhode Island who has been doing this for 14 years. He calls his the Buy Nothing Day Coat Exchange. I thought, “Wow, what a great idea. We’re going to do this in Salt Lake." The idea is for people to come exchange a coat, also promoting the concept of reducing, reusing and recycling. And really asking people to pause and think before they go out and buy new things. What can you do as an alternative gift guide idea? At our event we also give out flyers about alternative gift ideas. So you come either exchange a coat or you come donate coats or you can come get coats.

How has it evolved over the years?
Six years ago we did our first one and collected about 300 coats. We did that one in Sugar House. It was pretty small then, but over the years it’s grown. A couple of years ago we gave out 600 coats. Last year we didn’t collect as many coats, but more people came out to get them. I think it was a sign of the economy where people weren’t giving as much stuff away, and yet there was more of a need. And we’ve added drop-off centers over the years. People really seem to like the idea and want to participate. We usually start collecting coats around Oct. 1 and we collect them up through the day. You can drop off a coat at a donation center beforehand or you can bring them to the event. We have people show up with armloads of coats. We hold it at Library Plaza because it’s a big community place. We get a lot of families. 

How is this different from other Black Friday/Buy Nothing Day activities? 
Before on Buy Nothing Day, I would always go out with a huge group of people to the malls and sing what they call anti-consumerism carols that are to the tune of traditional Christmas carols but had messages of the pitfalls of consumerism. And after a while of doing that every year, I thought, “I don’t know if this is actually making a difference.” People are in such a hurry to go buy their stuff that they didn’t really stop to listen to us or, when they did, they thought we were singing real Christmas carols, and when they realized what we were really singing they would just hurry on their way. And we would find a lot of our leaflets on the ground and things. I really struggled with, “What difference am I making?” It’s hard to get to people in the moment with your message, especially on that day when they’re so ingrained with buying their Christmas presents on that day. While it’s fun to do direct action like that, it wasn’t satisfying because I wasn’t sure if I was reaching anybody. I know that I’ve reached people on a variety of fronts through [the coat exchange]. 

Also, we call it the community coat exchange. I don’t necessarily attach Buy Nothing Day to it. Some of our partners want to remain neutral on the BND concept; they want to make sure that they’re reaching out to everybody and they’re not turning anybody off. So it’s kind of a strategy. We do it on BND on purpose, yet we’re really trying to focus on this is a community event. Please, as you’re cleaning out your closets, as you’re going to shopping malls, as you’re going to patronize places today, really give pause and think about what you’re doing, and see if you can give consideration to getting involved in a community project instead.

What are your hopes for this year’s coat exchange? 
I hope that we get a lot of donations. I was a little disappointed last year that our donations were less than the need. It’s kind of sad for people to come and there’s not anything for them, yet they have this need. We also direct people to where they can find things, resources. My biggest hope is that more people will stop to think about their spending habits and the whole idea of consumerism and how it dominates our society. And really rethink how they money and use and buy material things: Do I really need to spend money, or is there something here in my own household that I still need to use before I go out and buy that new thing? Is there a way I can bring my family together without tons of gifts that are bought new? Are there other things that are just as meaningful? It’s trying to make this paradigm shift from “buy buy buy” to what’s really important in the world.

For more information about the Community Coat exchange, visitCoatExchange.wordpress.com/about .  Drop off centers are located at: Free Speech Zone (411 S. 800 East), City Academy (555 E. 200 South), The Oakley School (251 W. Weber Canyon Road, Oakley) and Brighton Resort (12601 E. Big Cottonwood Canyon Road, Brighton).

Bea Gaddy and My Wish

Bea Gaddy doesn’t have anything to do directly with our Community Coat Exchange. Bea Gaddy has everything to do with inspiring me to serve our community.

As a younger woman growing up in Frederick County, Maryland – about 50 miles west of Baltimore, I would watch with intrigue each Thanksgiving as the local news would air the piece about the huge Thanksgiving Feast organized by this amazing woman – Bea Gaddy. ( I have linked to her story and other sites below.)

Each year I would continue to be inspired by the stories published about Bea Gaddy and her efforts. I would think to myself “I want to be like her when I grow up.”

Several years ago I learned about a community event in Rhode Island held every year the day after Thanksgiving – the Buy Nothing Day Coat Exchange (click on the “Sister Events” tab above). Inspired by it, I organized Utah’s Annual Community Coat Exhange held each year the same day, the day after Thanksgiving. Each year of its existence I see that our Utah event is growing by leaps and bounds. It is amazing to me the outpouring of support by people from all over for this effort.

And now the Coat Exchange this year has gone coast to coast – with events in Kentucky and Oregon, in addition to the Rhode Island and Utah events.

As I have been reflecting on this event, I have come to realize, on a small scale and relevant to my world, that my wish has come true, thanks to everyone in my life who has influenced me – my amazing and wonderful husband, my parents, my grandmother, my siblings, my children, my wonderful friends, and others in the world who have inspired and influenced me….

I have grown up to be like Bea Gaddy.

My desire now is to continue to grow and serve our community in ways that all people will benefit from educational efforts such as the Community Coat Exchange.

Bea Gaddy Places:

Bea Gaddy Bio

Bea Gaddy Family Support Center

Bea Gaddy Women and Children’s Shelter

Bea Gaddy and My Wish

I am reposting this from the Community  Coat Exchange site as our event draws closer (November 26).

Bea Gaddy doesn’t have anything to do directly with our Community Coat Exchange.  Bea Gaddy has everything to do with inspiring me to serve our community.

As a younger woman growing up in Frederick County, Maryland – about 50 miles west of Baltimore, I would watch with intrigue each Thanksgiving as the local news would air the piece about the huge Thanksgiving Feast organized by this amazing woman – Bea Gaddy. ( I have linked to her story and other sites below.)

Each year I would continue to be inspired by the stories published about Bea Gaddy and her efforts.  I would think to myself “I want to be like her when I grow up.”

Several years ago I learned about a community event in Rhode Island held every year the day after Thanksgiving – the Buy Nothing Day Coat Exchange (click on the “Sister Events” tab above).  Inspired by it, I organized Utah’s Annual Community Coat Exhange held each year the same day, the day after Thanksgiving.  Each year of its existence I see that our Utah event is growing by leaps and bounds.  It is amazing to me the outpouring of support by people from all over for this effort.

And now the Coat Exchange this year has gone coast to coast – with events in Kentucky and Oregon, in addition to the Rhode Island and Utah events.

As I have been reflecting on this event,  I have come to realize, on a small scale and relevant to my world, that my wish has come true, thanks to everyone in my life who has influenced me – my amazing and wonderful husband, my parents, my grandmother, my siblings, my children, my wonderful friends, and others in the world who have inspired and influenced me….

I have grown up to be like Bea Gaddy.

My desire now is to continue to grow and serve our community in ways that all people will benefit from educational efforts such as the Community Coat Exchange.

deesig

Bea Gaddy Places:

Bea Gaddy Bio

Bea Gaddy Family Support Center

Bea Gaddy Women and Children’s Shelter

https://i1.wp.com/www.nathanielturner.com/images/New_Folder/bee.jpg

4th Annual Community Coat Exchange

The Community Coat Exchange was a success! We gave close to 90% of what was donated. Here are videos and links to photos of the event:

News Coverage by KSL TV – Fourth annual Community Coat Exchange helps Utahns stay warm
November 27th

SALT LAKE CITY — As the weather gets colder, a lot of people are in need of warm winter coats. The fourth annual Community Coat Exchange helps provide coats to those in need.

People dropped off extra coats at the Salt Lake City Library Plaza Friday. Those who needed a coat could get one, no questions asked.

Exchange organizers say there has been a decline in donations this year.

“This is indicative of a larger need this year for families during this time. Maybe people aren’t giving away things and maybe people are more in need,” says Deanna Taylor with the Community Coat Exchange.

Leftover coats will be given to the Crossroads Urban Center Thrift Store at 1385 W. 840 S. in Salt Lake City.

Those who didn’t make it Friday can still drop extra coats off at the center.