May 302011

It’s encouraging that during our recent obsessiveness with the “ferry crisis” three important initiatives began to take shape on Lummi Island. The first is the revitalization of the Disaster Preparedness Program. Second is an evaluation of health and wellness needs. The third is the community orchard project. Each of these actions will serve to move the island community to a better place and, doing so, support a vision of sustainability—that is, being able to do a better job of taking care of ourselves.

Island communities are unique. I’m fascinated by what island communities do around the world. Last year I had a whole series of posts about the islands in the Gulf of Maine, their problems and challenges. The Maine Islands have a significantly funded non-profit organization to help them along called the Island Institute.  One of their most interesting programs is called Island Fellows where “bright, talented college and master’s-degree graduates, “…work and live in…island communities, weaving themselves into the fabric of community life for up to two years while addressing critical local issues. Island communities apply to the Institute to place an Island Fellow in residence to work in schools, libraries, town offices, fisheries co-ops, arts enrichment, and adult education program, etc.”

Some sort of active effort to recruit young, energetic people to Lummi Island would be extremely beneficial. We don’t have an Island Institute to fund island fellows but perhaps there are granting agencies out there you are familiar with that could provide money for this kind of activity. Do we have any retired grant writers out there who can research this?

We need to find a way to import young energy to the island.


  One Response to “Island Fellows”

  1. Housing costs and ferry fares inhibit young families from living on the Island. There is little work that pays over $15/$20per hour and it is temporary part time work. when the work stops [caregiving /gardening etc.] the family could apply to assistance programs to cover the gap but this is not a great feeling in a small community where some people feel that ” you should move if you can’t afford to live on the Island ”
    would it be possible for persons who needed temporary help to co-operate and guarantee a certain number of hours per week or month [$1,800-$2,400per month 30hrs per wk – self employed income tax] and hire someone as a group hire? This could provide a realistic living for one person in a family as well as get the kids to and from school. It is very hard to juggle all these things.
    It is also hard for people on fixed incomes to make a small job attractive as larger jobs will naturally take precedence. This kind of co-operation could provide variety for the worker and a greater degree of accountability for the hiring group.
    It will take a strong ethic of respect for domestic service to be able to attract young health people to this kind of work. Thank goodness for the transition towns

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