By MARY BETH MAASSEN
Two really great things happened last week:
- I scored 546 in Scrabble. It is the most I have ever, ever scored. In my opening move I spelled “zippers” with the help of a blank, and on every turn after that I scored more than 28 points. While it was happening and immediately afterward it felt magical. Shortly thereafter I realized I had achieved my personal pinnacle of the Scrabble challenge, and then felt a little down-hearted. Which is why it was fantastic that a second great thing happened.
- I was selected to serve as the Executive Director for the United Way of Northern New Mexico. This is exciting because I still have work to do. Bringing people together to achieve a goal is my favorite work to do. I have long been a community advocate and volunteer, and now I am delighted to help create and lead teams in serving Northern New Mexico (UWNNM).
The UWNNM has made improving behavioral health opportunities in the region a priority. This particular cause is near and dear to my heart, because it is so difficult. Raising money to improve mental health outcomes is a never-ending battle. It is not just feeding the hungry, helping the unemployed into a job, or assisting someone in acquiring housing. It is a constant, long-term, ongoing effort to keep all aspects of life management in balance. It generally requires a team of qualified professionals, and I know we have remarkable team players here in Los Alamos. So yes, I find this challenge exciting.
At this very moment grant applications are available for the funding of a variety of health and social service programs in Los Alamos and Rio Arriba Counties. If you go to www.unitedwaynnm.org and click on the “funding” tab it will display the funding cycle calendar and the link to the RFP. I encourage everyone to check it out and pass the information along to anyone you think might be interested.
We live in a very fortunate region. The weather and landscapes are gorgeous, jobs are plentiful, and the cultures that surround us are rich and deep. But it is like playing Scrabble with only high-value consonant tiles, if you don’t have a one-point-vowel, you aren’t going to get very far.
I am a vowel and I am here to link people together.