2021 Community Building Award Recipient
Skate parks can be places that many adults pass without giving much thought to, much less engaging with the skaters and other youth who frequent them. But not our next awardee. Margaret Gibson not only engaged with the skate park crowd but set out to gain their trust by fulfilling their physical and emotional needs through familiarity and relationship continuity.
Early in the COVID pandemic, Blaine schools were meeting in-person for half days. While walking her dog, Margaret noticed that a number of students went directly from school to the skate park to hang out . As she spoke with the kids, many of whom she knew from her 23 years as a K to 12 school nurse in the Blaine district, they indicated that they were hungry since lunch was not served when school was a half day.
And so, Margaret began a regular routine. A few times each week she picks up food and drinks donated from the Blaine Food Bank and drives to the skate park with her newfoundland dog, Willow, where she is greeted enthusiastically with hugs and curiosity about what treasures she has brought for the skaters that day.
While she encourages them to eat, she inquiries about who they are and what and how they are doing. Margaret listens to their stories with genuine care about their well-being, celebrating who they are and encouraging them. She creates a space for youth at the skate park to know that there are trusted adults in the community, like her, that really listen and see them.
Thank you, Margaret, for your concern and care for the youth of Blaine.
To watch the 24th Annual Ken Gass Community Building Awards in which Margaret is recognized, click here.