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  • Taylor Dibbert

CHEER Epitomizes the Long Game

Vaccines. Hope. Happiness. Potential.

My dear parents are getting vaccinated in Dallas in a few days and I could not be more excited. And, if you had told me ten months ago that there would be several really good vaccines in the works, I’m not sure I would have believed you. After all, there was never a guarantee that we’d ever have even one viable vaccine, in the U.S. or anywhere.

So, there are reasons to be optimistic. There’s no question about that. And, thinking more about the Takoma Park and Long Branch communities, there are reasons to be optimistic too. Let’s turn to CHEER.

CHEER has been doing great work in recent times: food distributions, housing help and a lot more.

On the blog, we’ve recently heard from a couple CHEER board members. These are extremely accomplished people who fully understand CHEER’s mission and have been giving back for quite some time. I think that’s the thrust for this piece: doing the right and just thing when nobody is watching. Giving back and caring because that’s who you are. Playing the long game.

Like other members of the CHEER team, Mary Jacksteit and Kathy Porter did not join CHEER’s board for notoriety or other incentives. They did it because they believe in the mission and they are passionate about public service.

Why am I talking about this right now? Why does this matter?

COVID-19 will eventually pass. That’s far from over, of course. My point is that CHEER has been here during the pandemic – to help and to serve. The organization has supported numerous people that would not have gotten assistance otherwise. And that’s going to continue in the coming weeks and months. But CHEER is so much more than that.

CHEER “also acts as a facilitator and catalyst for individual involvement in community and civic life among people in neighborhoods that are less connected to resources and underrepresented in civic life,” says Bruce Baker, CHEER’s Executive Director. “Having more people engaged and empowered to participate is a way to sustain the long game and make it successful.”

And, since its inception, CHEER has been willing and ready to do that. Respond to the pandemic. Provide the urgent help that people need. Facilitating. Collaborating. Building networks. Doing what needs to be done now because there is no substitute for tangible action.

And then, when COVID-19 passes, CHEER will still be here – building on what’s been done during the coronavirus era; building on what’s been done before the coronavirus era; strengthening families and individuals; helping ensure that people live their best and fullest lives; actively creating a more inclusive Takoma Park and Long Branch; never forgetting what really matters.

Playing the long game means doing the unglamorous work. Playing the long game means being present in good times and bad. Playing the long game means embracing humility and listening, really listening. Playing the long game means building relationships that will last a lifetime. Playing the long game means that you’re never finished.

Playing the long game is what CHEER is all about.


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