Each One, Reach One

This amazing photograph courtesy Amy Capiross, Amy Cap Photography

This amazing photograph courtesy Amy Capiross, Amy Cap Photography

Most professional writers, myself included, toil away at some sort of “day job” in order to pay the bills and put food on the table. When I’m not sitting at the editing desk, by day you can find me in the classroom, teaching English and public speaking. On the first day of class, I like to lead students through an ice breaker activity to help us all get better acquainted.

Timons Esaias, one of my professors at Seton Hill University, taught me a valuable lesson about reaching students: offer them an incentive. To entice my students to open up about themselves, I give each of them a small bag of mixed candies and ask them to answer a question about themselves for each piece. For example, if your bag contains a “fun size” Milky Way bar, you have to say a few words about your dream career.

In the spirit of fairness and cooperation, I keep a bag, and for each piece of candy I reveal something about myself.

This semester, I drew a Milky Way from the bag of goodies and had to share with the class what my dream career would be. It took me only seconds to respond.

“I’m doing it,” I said. “What’s next?”

Yes, I often joke on social media about leading a rock star life but I’m dead serious. About five years ago, I made an important decision about life. I was going to stop trying to please everyone, and I was going to do exactly what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it. Life’s simply too short to do otherwise. I’ve never regretted that decision.

Truth be told, I am doing exactly what I’ve always wanted to do, and that is to reach people. Occupy space in their brains, make them think, and reach them with my words, whether they’re written on a chalkboard or here in the pages of Pennsylvania Bridges.

Speaking of, this edition’s pages are filled with stories about people who’ve decided what they want out of life is to reach people, to make a significant contribution to the lives of their family, friends and communities.

As I said, I love my work, but putting together this issue was even more awe inspiring than usual. I witnessed volunteers coming together to assemble bags of food for needy children who otherwise would go hungry on the weekends. I saw a near mountain of backpacks filled to the brim with items intended to bring comfort to children and youth in distress. I heard about a minister and beloved community leader whose community is rallying around him while he struggles with health issues. I read about an arts organization receiving a grant to help fund their efforts to bring art to underfunded schools. And we’re only up to page 14!

My aim with this edition, as with every issue, is to reach my audience and report to you on all the fantastic arts, entertainment, education and lifestyle news happening in our region. Here’s hoping I was successful.

Until next time — Carla E. Anderton, Editor-in-Chief, Pennsylvania Bridges

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