WHY I GIVE THANKS: Celebrate relationships that enrich our lives

Robyn Shingler
Special to NEW Media

The holiday season is a wonderful time to reflect on gratitude, appreciating the things that enrich our lives. At the heart of the celebrations lie the acknowledgment of the people, places and experiences that shape our journey. For me, gratitude thrives within the vibrant community of Shawano, a place I’m proud to call home.

Central to my gratitude is the sense of belonging and support fostered by the Shawano community. The interconnectedness within our town mirrors the tapestry of friendships, family and associations that have enriched my life. The strength and support of these connections extend far beyond the holiday season.

My family and friendships stand as pillars of strength, nurturing me through life’s highs and lows. Their unwavering presence and encouragement, particularly over the past year as I lost my brother, Kris, and my beloved mother, Sandra, serve as a constant reminder of the power of genuine connections. Through shared experiences and countless moments of laughter and understanding, these relationships have deepened my sense of appreciation for the bond that relationships provide us all.

Community involvement, too, has been instrumental in shaping my perspective on gratitude.

Serving with organizations like the Shawano Optimist Club, Toys For Tots, the Job Center/Elizabeth Street Business Complex board of directors, and as a volunteers for the Shawano Country Chamber, Downtown Shawano, CHAT, 100+ Women Who Care-Shawano County, and contributing to the Shawano Plan Commission has provided a platform to give back and hopefully, make a small difference in the lives of others.

The collective efforts and shared goals within these groups underscore the power of communal action and unity, fostering a sense of appreciation for the ability to effect positive change within the community.

Professionally, my career with the Shawano School District as the director of community education and outreach is a source of immense fulfillment. The opportunity to contribute to the growth and development of our community through enrichment learning and outreach initiatives is a privilege. Working within an environment that values community engagement and learning has amplified my gratitude for the chance to make a meaningful impact here.

Gratitude, especially during this holiday, is more than a mere acknowledgment of blessings; it’s a deep-rooted sense of appreciation for the connections that define us. The warmth of these connections and the mutual support found within the Shawano community embody the true essence of Thanksgiving — a celebration of gratitude for the beautiful, interwoven relationships that enrich our lives. Thank you for being a part of mine.

Robyn Shingler is the director of community education and outreach with the Shawano School District.