The Ogre Story - To Solve Our Biggest Issues We Have to Look UpStream
I was first given this story by Lucy Woodhouse, our new Executive Director at the Black River United Way. Its a great picture of how we deal with issues facing our communities. We have to not only address the immediate symptoms but all address the root cause of the problem.
The Ogre Story A story of how short term and long term solutions must work together to create lasting change.
One morning, a villager decided to walk along the river on her way to work. As she was enjoying the view she noticed a crying infant in the river. Horrified by the sight of a helpless child in such a dangerous predicament, the villager dove into the water, grabbed the baby, and brought him ashore; the baby, although afraid and soaking wet, was fine. With a sigh of relief, the villager wiped the water from her own eyes and looked out on the river.
"What if I hadn’t seen him," she thought to herself.
As she tried to warm the baby with her jacket, she heard more crying. She looked out over the river only to see another baby in the water. Once again, she dove into the water and rescued this baby as well. Not a minute had passed before she heard more crying, and looking out over the river, she spotted dozens more babies.
Calling out for help she was soon joined by the entire community and together they rescued as many babies as they could.
But the babies kept on coming…
After half-an-hour or so, a group of villagers decided to go upstream to find out why the babies were in the river in the first place. Upstream, they found an ogre tossing babies into the water!
The villagers quickly realized that the only way to keep the babies safe was to deal with this ogre. But pulling the babies out of the river is also essential. How could they live with themselves if they didn’t try?
So what’s the moral of the story? That communities must come together to mobilize short term and long term solutions in order to create lasting change.
• When the villager called her neighbors to the river, she mobilized community.
• By pulling the babies out of the water, the villagers were addressing the immediate need.
• And by going upstream and confronting the ogre, the villagers were able to address the root cause of the issue.
Creating lasting change is what United Way endeavors to do. To achieve this goal we know we must address immediate needs and focus on "keeping the babies out of the river" in the first place. If we don’t, we will be pulling babies out of the river forever.
The challenges facing our community are complex, and need to be addressed at the roots. With your support, United Way can continue to invest resources locally to help kids be all that they can be; to build a strong community; and to move people from poverty to possibility.