By Astrid Furstner, CNA Chair
Resilience is defined as having the ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity or the like. In Concordia, the place we call home, resilience is being able to recover from the news that left us reeling – the closure of Concordia University.
At our March general meeting, we had asked Julie Dodge, doctor of ministry, to speak to us about resilience – something that she deals with and helps others to deal with on a daily basis. The university associate professor was invited as a speaker for our March event prior to the university’s announcement about closing.
The strength and courage she showed in still coming to our meeting was amazing. As a matter of fact, there were several other staff/faculty members in attendance that night – not as representatives of the school, but as members of the community, neighbors and as people whose lives have also been changed.
The school is closing. The students will no longer be on campus. The faculty and staff are losing their jobs. This is what we have to contend with as a community.
There will soon be a void. There is uncertainty. How will we, as a community, come together and fill that void?
Let us begin with our children. Karmin Williams, Ed.D., Faubion School principal, attended. She alleviated some fears by reporting the Faubion building is owned by Portland Public Schools (PPS) – not the university.
Faubion is not closing. She also said the university was providing 40% of funding along with volunteers and teaching students, in addition to a full-time employee who coordinated community activities. So Faubion will face a shortfall, both in finances and assistance.
What can we, as a community, do to help? Volunteer. Any neighbor who wishes to volunteer must go through a PPS background check and application process. Learn more at PPS.net. How much time do you have?
The university provided our community with the use of its library. That’s closing. But, did you know that we have six other public libraries that we can also use – for free?
They are: Kenton Library on north Denver Avenue, North Portland Library on north Killingsworth Street, St. Johns Library on north Charleston Avenue, Albina Library on northeast 15th Avenue and the Hollywood Library on northeast Tillamook Street.
We also have several free little libraries in our community. Leave a book – take a book.
The closing of the university does have an impact on our community, but it does not have to destroy us. Change is here, how do we face it?
Personally, I say we face it together.
Why not work together to continue to make Concordia our home – a place where our children can live out their lives and create memories? A place where we care for our neighbors. A place where we thrive as a community.
Astrid Furstner is a mother, a wife, an immigrant, a local artist and an artisan. She lives with her luthier husband, Brent, and her artist-in-the-making daughter, Luciana. Together, they call Concordia their home.