Finding What Matters

Guest: J.D. Hoye, President, Keep The Change, Inc. Reflecting on the 2000 inauguration when President Bush asked us to be “citizens, not spectators; citizens, not subjects; responsible citizens building communities of service and a nation of character,” one might see the irony in our current situation in Iraq and our desire to be seen as citizens of the world.

Over the last four years I have seen an ever-increasing desire from community-based leaders to improve their communities. This is most often expressed by describing how they wish that the lives of their children could improve, and that their futures have greater promise.

Perhaps the disappointment, and thus the apathy, is simply tied to hearing what our leaders say versus seeing their actions. This lack of alignment causes us to lose inspiration to make positive community changes ourselves.

Our citizens must have faith that what is asked of them matters; that there is a place to participate in helping improve our community’s future in a lasting way, and that we are emulating that noble purpose as demonstrated by our country’s leaders.

The first line in this “next chapter” of American life is to educate and train every child as though he or she was our own, and to prepare him or her to participate fully in our global economy. We need to honor all cultures of the world by envisioning a better world through cooperation, understanding, and actions that demonstrate the realization that we are all in this together.

I sincerely hope that this inauguration speech of 2005 is followed by high-profile deeds and actions that encourage and acknowledge a greater community-based leadership approach to secure a future of hope and opportunity for all our children.

J.D. Hoye has devoted her life to education and workforce development, serving as a counselor and as Associate Superintendent of Oregon's Department of Education. In 1994, she was appointed by President Clinton to head the National Office of School-to-Work. She attended the 2004 National Harwood Public Leadership School . She is also working with The Harwood Institute in its on-the-ground work in Las Vegas, NV