Recently there was an article in St. Louis Magazine featuring the City of Pine Lawn – http://projects.stlmag.com/pine-lawn. The narrative was all too familiar and described the city through the lens of the past, prior fumbles or the misgiving of opportunities.
From my perspective, the writer missed an opportunity to share another, more compelling story. A story of change, hope and of people who care deeply about their community. A story of hard working people who do everything they can to overcome their daily challenges.
For those of us working in the community, we understand these challenges all too well. Helping a community become a better place to live is no easy task. If you are not familiar with what’s going on in Pine Lawn, you may be drawn to what you see on the outside – perhaps the current state of housing, or the school district’s accreditation status or the occasional story in the paper about a community leader.
But there’s so much more to this story.
Forty-one new homes are being built, along with parks, amenities, and a redevelopment plan focused on major revitalization of the neighborhood’s most active commercial area. Countless non-profit organizations are working together to provide information and resources that have never been available to the community before. And, an entirely new city council has come together to change the direction of this community.
Even with everything exciting that is taking place today, there are people who doubt our progress and what we are trying to accomplish. Many say it can’t be done. Many more do not trust us in part, because of the actions in the past.
And while I have deep concerns regarding the narrative associated with the article, it reminded me of the most important and foundational piece of our work, trust. Charles Feltman describes trust as “choosing to risk making something you value vulnerable to another person’s actions”. We are honored that our community allows itself to be vulnerable to our work by allowing us to positively impact their values: family, belonging, community and independence.
Yet the St. Louis Magazine article featured a small number of Pine Lawn residents who articulated a lack of trust in our work and by de facto, us.