Caring For Community 4

Local Organization Strives To Solve Tough Issues

There is power in unity. Appropriately enough, you cannot spell the word “community” without “unity.” The Caring Community Collaborative (C3), recognizes this and strives to unite community members to focus on addressing needs throughout West Chester and Liberty Township.

C3 exists to bridge the gaps between industry experts, community leaders and neighbors within West Chester and Liberty Township. The organization’s mission is to bring diverse sectors (businesses, houses of worship, different cultures, etc.) of the community together to educate and raise awareness of community-wide concerns in order to advance the quality of life for our community. “We’re all in this together,” is what C3 wants each citizen to know, and Lynda O’Connor, president of C3, stresses how powerful “we” can be.

“I remember one event we were having a few years ago for senior citizens…to allow the community to discuss what a normal day for a senior looks like,” O’Connor explains about the event, which consisted of a panel of senior citizens and senior service providers. “One panelist was talking about all of the services they offer and one senior looked at them and said, ‘Well, if you offer all of those things and I’m a senior, why don’t I know about it?’ It was an illuminating moment,” she reflects.

At that point, C3 knew their call to action was to bring more community members together to bridge these gaps. While many non-profits focus on single issues, C3 focuses holistically on the community and partners within various organizations to create one central location for multifaceted information.

“We’re focused on building a stronger community amid the different aspects and areas where there is a need. That’s where the collaborative part comes in,” O’Connor states. C3 partners with organizations such as the West Chester • Liberty Chamber Alliance, the Community Foundation, Butler County Mental Health and Addiction Recovery Services Board, Miami University and Butler County United Way, among others, to address the concerns of the community.

“We’re constantly working to come up with ways that we can help and grow our community in a positive and impactful way as neighbors helping neighbors. It seems to naturally flow from the energy we have within the group,” O’Connor explains.

The C3 team consists of leaders from the business, faith and education communities as well as service providers, locally elected leaders and more. It’s a broad spectrum of perspectives on purpose. As a collective, the team is responsible for many events and initiatives including drug addiction, veterans’ issues, mental health, homelessness, hunger, needs of the elderly, interfaith understanding and youth and generational issues. One upcoming fundraising event is Empty Bowls, which benefits Reach Out Lakota and the Faith Alliance Summer Lunch and Learn program. On Saturday, October 21, guests can purchase a handmade bowl and enjoy a meal together while contributing to these non-profit organizations.

The organization is always looking for volunteers and sponsors. All team members work on a voluntary basis and funds from donations go directly into funding programming such as the Food with Friends Initiative, which educates students and families on preparing healthy meals on a budget.

“Though we look like we live in an affluent community, there are deep pockets of need and we work to recognize those pockets and identify the specific need,” O’Connor says. “Though they aren’t widespread, there are needs in our community and if we don’t deal with them now they will become bigger.”

For additional information about C3 and how to get involved with upcoming events and fundraisers, go online.