Article appeared in the Redstone Review September 2016
Many people move to Lyons for the outdoor beauty, recreation opportunities, proximity to the mountains, or a variety of other reasons. A lot of residents would attest that the sense of community and the feeling of knowing your neighbors it what keeps them here. Lyons has built a strong community, reinforced through our collective experience over the past few years.
How do you create and build community? Engagement. In a small town, there are a multitude of opportunities to get involved and actually make a difference. We have a government, fire and police, town employees, departments, teachers and small business owners that allow the town to operate. We also have engaged citizens who volunteer in the schools, create art and music, serve on boards and committees, and generally contribute their time, resources and energy to efforts to make our own little piece of the world better.
The Lyons Community Foundation was founded 10 years ago based on an acknowledgement that people really want to make a difference. Our mission to “improve the quality of life, build a culture of giving, and encourage positive change in the greater Lyons Area”, speaks to this collective goal. LCF provides an avenue for volunteers, creative people, educators and interested citizens to focus their efforts. By contributing to LCF either through your own time and talents or by supporting granting financially, residents are ensuring this good work will continue. Local philanthropy creates a strong community.
Every year, the Community Support Granting Cycle is an opportunity for residents to take inspiration, skills and talents and apply them to a specific project that has the capacity to improve or enhance life for Lyons area residents. For example, the Lyons Leos is a youth-led volunteer organization that does service projects throughout Lyons. Frustrated by a lack of volunteer opportunities for youths post-flood, the Leos formed their own group supported by the Lions Club International, an existing adult volunteer group. By providing a small grant to the Leos, LCF can help leverage their efforts to provide services to residents. The Leos worked on flood clean up, fence repairs, yard work and other needed projects for residents after the flood. They continue to take on projects as their youth-based membership grows.
The 9Health Fair is another great example of the power of community involvement. By harnessing the power of dozens of medical and non-medical volunteers along with donations from local businesses, a grant from LCF, and a new venue provided by the Church of Latter Day Saints, the 9Health Fair is able to offer no or low-cost health screenings to all area residents. These potentially life-saving services may not be accessible for people if it not for the annual event which will take place this September 24th.
Other community enhancing work would likely not occur without the financial support of Lyons residents through LCF. Cultural traditions such as the Sandstone Summer Concert Series, the Holiday Parade of Lights, and the completion of the Clarifier Community Art Project happen because of the time and energy of their participants.
It’s also important to remember that without a community foundation, there would not have been an avenue for locally focused aid after the flood. Because the infrastructure was already in place, LCF was able to distribute almost $1.5 million in disaster relief as direct aid to residents and businesses when they needed it most. The Rebuild Lyons fund although dwindling in resources, will continue to grant to post-flood recovery and resiliency efforts as long as funds remain.
As a resident of this greater Lyons area, all are encouraged to do their part. Get involved. Volunteer to serve on a board or commission. Attend public meetings. Volunteer at the food pantry. Donate to LCF. Be inspired to engage however you are able to make Lyons the “best small town in America”.
For more information on the Lyons Community Foundation or to make a donation, visit www.lyonscf.org. Save the date for our 8th Annual Fundraising Gala, happening on November 11th at Lionscrest Manor. Details coming soon.