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Our View: Connie Worden-Roberts

Posted: August 17, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 17, 2014 2:00 a.m.

The Santa Clarita Valley lost an irreplaceable resource last week.

This resource was a woman by the name of Connie Worden-Roberts. She was a dynamo of dedication when it came to making the Santa Clarita Valley a better place to live.

She was a tireless mentor, a determined do-er, a near-unstoppable force for improving life in the SCV.

Those who knew her say she was an activist, that she was persistent, dedicated, full of integrity and a woman with a heart for everyone.

Santa Clarita Mayor Laurene Weste says she was a volunteer’s volunteer. And we think that hits the nail on the head.

Connie Worden-Roberts saw problems and identified solutions. She found ways to work with people in such diverse areas as environmental cleanup, traffic management and local government formation. She educated herself on the issues and proposed solutions and she networked and engaged others in those solutions.

Perhaps most of all, she believed in local solutions to local problems. And she believed in each Santa Clarita Valley resident’s ability as a force for making this a better place to live.

Connie did all this not by serving in public office, but by volunteering. The power she was able to wield through volunteerism was astonishing.

So how do we honor her legacy?

That’s simple: by being involved, being informed, and volunteering.

We suspect that Connie would be unhappy with recent signs of disengagement in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Voter turnout last April for the race for Santa Clarita City Council — the government she worked so hard to form — was just 14.2 percent.

The council recently extended the deadline to apply for a commission position because the applicant pool was so small.

This is alarming. Local government doesn’t thrive and improve the lot of local residents when those residents turn away, say “Someone else can take care of that,” and withdraw from the process of effecting change.

When residents disengage, perspectives are lost. The disengagement doesn’t go unnoticed by those who have power.

Possibilities for corruption present themselves.

Just ask the residents of Bell.

How do we honor Connie Worden-Roberts’ legacy? By getting involved. The possibilities are staggeringly numerous in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Believe in student literacy? Call the libraries. Check in with the Santa Clarita Valley Education Foundation. Volunteer.

Read to children at schools or libraries. Bring your dog to be read to. Listen to the children read to you.

Dedicated to education? Volunteer at a city Community Center in Canyon Country or Newhall. Join the PTA. Check out your local school for its needs. Become a class mom or dad.

Want to help those with physical ailments? Call Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital for volunteer opportunities.

Like working with the elderly? Call the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center or your nearest senior housing complex.

The business community can use volunteers. Check with the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corp., Chamber of Commerce or Valley Industry Association.

More into environmental causes? Call the Placerita Canyon Nature Center for volunteer opportunities. Join the Santa Clarita Valley Community Hiking Club. Clear a hiking trail, lobby for wilderness status, collect signatures for such status. Help with a fundraiser. Help with the city’s River Rally.

There are local residents lobbying for community gardens, for no electronic billboards on freeways, for fewer traditional billboards in the city, for more bike paths, for more public art, for more parks, for more lights in dog parks.

There’s no limit in the SCV.

Together, we can make this a better, safer, more interesting, more user friendly, more engaging, more active, more educational, more profitable, more transportation friendly, more family friendly, more pet friendly, more lucrative, more entertaining, more environmentally sound, more desirable place to live.

And we all win.

That’s what Connie would want.



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