As an alumnus of the Civic Leadership Institute sponsored by Washington & Jefferson College and conducted by the group Coro Pittsburgh, I had the privilege of meeting some outstanding leaders from the community. What impressed me the most was not just the wealth of ideas or the experience or even their knowledge of Washington’s history, but their passion.
Leadership is Washington’s greatest asset. It is more important than coal, gas or even land. If our city plans on becoming the vanguard of the future, developing opportunities for our children, then it has to begin to foster and encourage community leaders. Our challenge is not just our ideas or our passions, but being able to communicate effectively as well as listening to others even when we disagree. One must possess the ability to really listen to disenfranchised or disgruntled neighbors and be prepared to develop and execute plans to benefit an entire community.
Washington needs more leaders to stand up and become a part of the changes facing this city. This community must also recognize that everyone has a part to play. We need to shrug off our apathy, or stop waiting for government or someone else to “fix it”; get involved and committed to actively participate in the challenges to develop both business and community. We each need to participate so that each one of us can be proud of the community in which we live and worship.
Where to begin? Volunteer. Offer even an hour of your time to any one of the many organizations in the city. Highland Ridge Community Development Corp. is but one organization that could use a helping hand, but there are many that would welcome a volunteer.
Fred Fleet II
Fleet is the president of the Highland Ridge Community Development Corporation.