Last night I attended the Riverside Arts Academy, “The Art of Giving” Gala, the annual fundraiser for the city’s arts & community collaboration. The event not only raises money to support arts programming for the underserved children of Riverside, it showcases their talent, and honors community members who are making an impact in the arts. One of this year’s honorees Alvord School District Superintendent Sid Salazar was selected for his leadership in engaging his entire district – students, administrators, teachers, parents, and classified employees – in the life changing power of the arts.
As I watched the beginning ballerinas and violinists and other children nervously perform for a room full of supportive family and community members, I was reminded of the significance of generosity and the spirit of giving as we begin the holiday season.
It is the spirit of giving that binds us as community.
Today is Giving Tuesday, an opportunity to show that after Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, what really matters is what we do for others. And in our region we have Give Big San Bernardino County, the opportunity to raise funds for community organizations (like Riverside Arts Academy) that are transformative forces in the lives of others.
When I returned home from watching the kids perform last night I had a message waiting for me from Aaron Norris, a friend and avid reader of this column, reminding me of #GivingTuesday. He is the board chair for Community Connect 211, one of the over 140 organizations participating in this year’s day of giving in the County of San Bernardino. The organization’s mission is to connect people in need with those who can help with an emphasis on creating safe and healthy communities. And isn’t that something we all desire to help create?
So give today to your favorite arts program, or social service provider, or community organization. It is the perfect opportunity to show that we are connected and care for the collective not just ourselves.