Giving Back to Your Community

One thing I find fascinating about some of the comments on my previous post where I talked about things that are great and that suck about small towns is that some people in Tok actually thought I was talking specifically about Tok versus small towns in general – even though I included an intro like this:

Here are my thoughts on the good things about living in small towns and the not so good. I think this can apply to smaller towns and communities anywhere.

Still, some people really took the post personally.

Luckily, I’ve blogged long enough to know that I can’t take things personally when people misinterpret what I’ve blogged about and bring their own issues and baggage into the comments section. But to clarify, I was just thinking about all of the small towns I’ve lived in over the years versus the big cities and making some general comparisons for conversation’s sake. Guess it worked! 😉

But this post you are now reading is about Tok – just to clarify for those folks who are standing at the ready to criticize (apparently some of you just have nothing better to do than read this blog and post little zingers).

Let’s Talk About Giving

‘Tis the season to be thinking about giving. But in my life and my world, giving is built right into everything I do.

For example, my company does pro bono work for good causes as a rule, not an exception. I personally contribute time, consulting services and money to nonprofits, and if you know my schedule, you know I don’t technically have time to give, but where there’s a will, there’s a way.

And when I move to a new community, I seek out organizations and causes where I can apply my time, skills and money as well.

That’s why before coming to Tok, I offered to volunteer to bring the Imagination Library to the community to give free books every month to kids 5 and under (a friend in Anchorage had recently been given the job to help bring the program to rural Alaska). Every child in Tok who registers for the program qualifies for free, age-appropriate books from birth until kindergarten.

When I arrived last year, I learned that the librarian at the Tok School was also interested in bringing Imagination Library to the community so I stepped back, handed over all the paperwork I had brought with me to the incredibly efficient Carrie Beeman, and the idea became reality.

My company donated $250 to help get the project off the ground, and I’ve been doing my best to help with PR, fliers, and Web stuff to help spread the word about monthly Imagination Library events, travel permitting. Now thanks to everyone’s hard work (especially Carrie’s), Imagination Library in our region has been given a grant for expansion. More on that soon.

Another organization I learned about in Tok is Duct Tape Radio and Humanities Forum. I am helping to get a Duct Radio blog going for them and set up their Facebook Page (Become a Fan!). I hope to contribute more time getting the word out about their efforts to support humanities and the arts in Tok including the repeater that brings us KUAC. We’re also talking about doing a little Tok radio as a podcast so stay tuned! I’ll be donating my services to help make it happen.

And in another arena, I’ve offered to post information about events and link to Tok business web sites from this blog. For free. As in “no cost.” So far, only Bud Johnson of Acoustic Accents and the Imagination Library have taken me up on that offer. The rest of the things I blog here about community events – and the links I have put up – are just things I’ve done on my own, but the efforts are by no means complete.

This blog is read by hundreds of people every week from all over the world – thousands of people a month. And even though many people like to be naysayers here on the blog, they’re still reading it (my stats track where they are, and yes, many are in Tok).  If you would like some exposure to the community or to the world, just email me through this blog, and I’m happy to post things! The only criteria is the events have to be open to the public. The links to businesses must be for sites or blogs for Tok-based businesses.

Stay tuned for a post this week about the next concert Bud Johnson is bringing to Tok. And also stay tuned for a winter chamber music concert with world class musicians that will be here thanks to Sitka Summer Music Festival and some great Tok resources. And if anyone knows the Karaoke KJ, please have ’em send me their dates!

How are YOU giving back to YOUR community?

Leave a comment


  1. Whoa! You *are a ways out there. Thanks to a forest fire keeping us away from Anchorage a couple of years ago, we had to trek to Glenallen to find a hotel for the night. But Tok is nearly as far from Glenallen as Glenallen is from Palmer (where my son was living at the time). I check your blog pretty much every day … how about some photos??

  2. I just have to tell you how awesome it is that I found you on Twitter! I enjoy your tweets and now your blogs! I didn’t realize it when I first followed you that we are fellow Alaskans. You bring me a little closer to home.

    Thanks! All your efforts do pay off and change lives, keep rockin it

  3. Regan

     /  November 29, 2009

    I’m in IL but found you somehow a year or so ago…and saw the recent comments. Ouch! Just like you said, the haters will hate…but they’re still reading your blog – as am I! Keep at it! 😉

  4. Bill O'Reilly's falafel

     /  December 9, 2009

    “I’ve blogged long enough to know that I can’t take things personally when people misinterpret what I’ve blogged about and bring their own issues and baggage into the comments section…

    (apparently some of you just have nothing better to do than read this blog and post little zingers)”

    You say you don’t take it personally yet you add your own insults? Close your comments or make your blog private if you don’t want to hear what your audience is saying.

    • LOL. You call that an insult? Interesting. I love hearing what my audience says on all my blogs. That is why I publish all comments except posts where the commenter inadvertently posts their phone number. Figured they don’t really want the world to see that.


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