Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” I have seen and heard this phrase numerous times, but for the first time I feel like I am part of one of those “small groups.” The concept of a small group changing the world can be applied to non-profit and volunteer organizations across the globe, but this summer I am getting to see this work first hand.
All of the fellows are working for small non-profits this summer, but my non-profit, FLOW, is particularly small in comparison. It only has one full time employee and everyone else involved is a volunteer. Despite its small size, FLOW takes part in and heads many large projects that promote their mission, “keeping the Olentangy River and its tributaries clean and safe for all to enjoy, through public education, volunteer activities, and coordination with local decision makers.” It has a Backyard Conservation Course, Rain Barrel Programs, and a stream MONITOR class. It helps local businesses apply green lawn practices, and it organizes invasive specie/park clean-up days.
These events are made possible because of FLOW’s abilitiy to network within the community. Even though the organization only has one paid employee, it has hundreds of other people and organizations that can help. With my main project alone, naming unrecorded tributaries along the Olentangy, I have had to communicate with people from all across Franklin and Delaware County. I am starting to realize that FLOW actually has a much larger “staff,” all of the community members and organizations in the central Ohio area, that offer their time and expertise. Though on the surface, FLOW’s one room, single employee office may seem very small, with the help of all of the concerned individuals in the area, it can do BIG things!
Kelsey – FLOW