Right now we're reading "Citizens: Why the Key to Fixing Everything is All of Us" by Jon Alexander and Ariane Conrad.
"A different story is rising, a story of who we are as humans, what we're capable of and how we might work together to rebuild and imagine how to build our world. This is the Citizens Story."
The book talks of a Consumer Story that has permeated our recent collective existence, a story where we the individual are the center and that we can buy our way into a better world. In this story, systems exist to serve us as we passively participate in society.
But the authors also tell of a new story: the Citizens Story. One where we as individuals are not the champions, but all of us together are. This is where we thrive.
Wings was started 13 years ago to concentrate our collective attention and impact in areas that were often left in the dark. We wanted to help people come together to make change for our unhoused and newly housed neighbors.
We've changed what services we offer and how we operate over the years, but our version of the Citizens Story has remained constant: all of us working together is what brings change. Our motto, Connecting Community Through Compassion, was forged from this principle. We know we aren't the agency that will solve the problem of homelessness. We aren't the answer. The answer is all of us. Not one agency, not a governmental department, not one super volunteer.
"Stories matter, they can trap us but they can also inspire us. The stories we tell shape how we see ourselves and how we see the world. When we see the world differently we begin behaving differently, living into the new story."
When we unite our community to be volunteer advocates for people experiencing homelessness, we are helping them to see the world differently. So many housed folks don't know the first thing about what it's like to be homeless. They have barely interacted with people experiencing homelessness. We exist to change that. Compassion starts with knowledge but it blossoms with experience.
We invite you to read Citizens along with us and dream with us as we co-create a better Santa Cruz for all of us. Check out Bookshop Santa Cruz for a copy of the book or borrow from a friend. Check out our Get Involved page for more ways to participate.