Originally published in the Monadnock Shopper News
With the remnants of Valentine's Day still lingering, Monadnock Buy Local's thoughts turned to what it means to care for our loved ones -- whether friends, family or neighbors. There's a whole Caring Economy running through our region, dependent on and greatly influencing our entire economy.
A Caring Economy includes all the work that goes into caring for people. It encompasses all generations -- from infant to elder care. It's both formal and informal, paid and unpaid, critically valuable and often invisible. It's the part of the economy that's based on relationships and service.
Every one of us is part of the Caring Economy, whether formally through our paid work or informally -- as a volunteer or friend. Where you share your time, talents and wealth, you send out ripple effects that impact this part of our economy.
Think of the locally owned business owner you purchase from. The owner's business practices influence the Caring Economy, from their staff leave and wellness policies to their charitable contributions to nonprofits. So, where you spend your dollars and how each business owner shares their revenues is a major driver of our Caring Economy.
Throughout February, we highlighted some very diverse examples of Caring Economy initiatives on our Facebook Page. Here are five that drew the most attention.
This coalition, started by Healthy Monadnock, works to inspire businesses to pay their staff a living wage of at least $15 an hour. Coalition members understand how wages impact the health and wealth of employees and their families. The goal is to inspire at least 50 businesses to commit to providing living wages by 2020. Badger Balm in Gilsum is a coalition member. CEO Bill Whyte shares, "Badger's company culture is inspired by generosity, fun is good, integrity and respect. Paying a living wage is a part of being respectful and generous. Paying a living wage is our way of saying thank you for all that you do."
Learn more at monadnocklivingwage.org.
The Monadnock Center for Violence Prevention offers the "Green Dot" program that teaches bystanders training. Keene Green Dot also works with middle school students to help prevent violence in our community. Why the green dot? Red dots are often used to represent places of battle or violence. The goal of Keene Green Dot is to transform these dots of violence into green dots representing actions of violence prevention. Their next Bystander Training is scheduled for Saturday, March 3 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Cheshire Medical Center in Keene.
The film Resilience: The Biology of Stress & the Science of Hope, recently shown at the Colonial Theatre, drew hundreds to learn more about the health and social impacts of childhood stress on kids -- and the adults they grow into. The film highlights how high and sustained levels of stress increases a child's risk of future disease and even early death. It also shines a light on how, as a community of doctors, educators and caregivers, we can prevent childhood trauma, while supporting and healing the individuals exposed to toxic stress. This event was organized by Monadnock Thrives, a new initiative that seeks to build happy, healthy and resilient families.
A Monadnock United Way initiative, Impact Monadnock focuses on caring for children from 0 to 5 years old, the most pivotal time to invest in a child's future academic, career and life success. This initiative provides education and training to pediatricians, educators, parents and business owners, while advocating for policies that support child wellbeing. Impact Monadnock recently formed the Monadnock Home Visiting Alliance (MHVA) to expand and improve home visits to at-risk families with infants and toddlers.
Monadnock at Home provides support to its members senior citizens who want to keep living at home. This nonprofit provides services including phone check-ins, transportation to appointments and shopping trips, referrals to vetted service providers and social events. They collaborate with a number of other nonprofits to meet their members' needs such as Home Healthcare Hospice & Community Services and the Community Volunteer Transportation Company.
It takes an entire community to support our Caring Economy. We invite you to explore more Caring Economy themed posts and articles at monadnocklocal.org/care. Also, please stay tuned for future local economy themes on our Facebook page.
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