Be Thou My Vision

By Kinsey Tucker, Partnership Coordinator

Vision Joplin 2022 is a new initiative here in Joplin. It’s a community-led initiative to come up with ideas and plans for our city that will make it better by the year 2022. It’s broken down into 6 committees: Job Growth, Positive Branding and Marketing, Quality of Life, Governance, Health and Wellness, and Education. Each group is meeting to prepare ideas and plans to present to the city council on how we want to see Joplin look in the year 2022.

What’s cool about this is that it is completely community-driven. It was started by a concerned citizen who thought the voice of our community was strong and we had the power to create change. The city council is guiding the group in terms of timelines and implementation, but otherwise, the groups are completely citizen-led.

This is community development: the people of a community rising up and addressing issues and realizing we are capable of creating change.  We have been reading the book Making Neighborhoods Whole by Wayne Gordon and John M. Perkins as a group of Partnership Coordinators and I think they sum up this initiative perfectly: “[We can] harness the commitment, energy and resources of men, women and young people living in the community; the commitment and energy of community residents is as much an asset to be redistributed as financial resources.” I love that our energy and commitment to change can truly have an effect and that makes each meeting of this committee incredibly valuable.

I decided to join the Quality of Life branch of this initiative. Our focus is to come up with ideas that will make Joplin a safer and happier place to live. We met last week and discussed ideas ranging from adding an arts and culture center to beautifying neighborhoods and historic downtown.

It was incredible to be in a room with 20 or so other people who cared about what the future of our city was going to look like. The number was small but it was encouraging to know I am not alone in wanting Joplin to thrive and for each person in Joplin to thrive.

The leader of the committee left us with an amazing last thought: “At the end of the day, we have the power as citizens of Joplin to make some of these ideas happen, whether the council approves them or not. We still can live our lives in a way that inspires hope in our community and reminds people of the joys of living in Joplin.”

Next Step Ministries