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Think Global, Act Local: Show Up & Give A Little

By Kalley Norr

Photos by Hillary Ehlen

Dear Readers:

I hope this article finds you enjoying the immaculate view of the snow with the pleasant perfume of the Xmas season atmosphere!

It is with great honor and pleasure that I introduce to you Kalley Norr: a woman of a thousand and one skills…I am sure she has many more. I tried to count but I stopped at a thousand and one!

Kalley and I met in the Fall 2016 at NDSU when I started graduate school. Immediately, I was fascinated by her involvement on campus and in the community. It is usual for people to say of someone, “she knows everyone!” But in this case, I can attest that not only does she know everyone, but EVERYONE knows Kalley!

Because she paved the way for others like myself who were new to the area to thrive, she is one of the reasons why I am as involved on campus and in the community. This is something really praiseworthy because she came to Fargo from the Twin Cities area of Minnesota and once she had made her mark in Fargo, she made sure other new faces of the area felt included as well.

She is the ideal neighbor: a connector of great minds, a super volunteer of the FM area, a great event planner, a recruiter/inviter, a friendly face to anyone fortunate to cross her humble path, confident, a great host, a voice for many of us that are sometimes forgotten, a woman of conviction… I could go on and on!

She recently moved with her fiancé to another exotic state: Florida. Selfishly, we are not pleased with her departure, but we are excited to see her spreading her wings to make an impact with her stellar personality in a new community.

In Africa there is a proverb that says, “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.”  

Kalley will go far in life because in every stride she makes during this eventful journey we call life, she always includes the members of the community fortunate to call Miss Norr its resident! 

Until our humble paths cross again, have happy holidays surrounded with beloved ones and goodbye to the year 2018!

-Alexandre Cyusa aka The Fargo-Moorhead-hearted Rwandan citizen!

The pastor at my church growing up once told our congregation that the issue with the church is that people come with a mindset of “what can this church do for me?” They become disappointed or upset when they do not receive and consequently will leave that church in search of what they feel they are missing.

He encouraged us to always ask first: “what can I give to my church?”

I came to the Fargo-Moorhead area in 2013 with the intention of spending one semester at North Dakota State University and immediately transferring to a school closer to my hometown of Edina, Minnesota. Five years have passed since I moved into the dorms, and my outlook on what it means to be a part of a community has drastically grown.

It’s easy to tell people to get involved, but I’d like to break it down into two simpler parts for those of us who find it difficult to just “get involved.” And for those of us who don’t get involved, the places we live don’t give us the sense of belonging that keep ourselves, our students and our neighbors here.

Think Global, Act Local is about showing up for your community

My first piece of advice is to show up. Show up for your friends, coworkers and for your community. Is your friend hosting a writing workshop at the local brewery? Show up. Is your colleague hosting a benefit? Show up. Is there a free event downtown that a local business is hosting? Great, show up. Being physically present for those around you and for your community is one of the easiest ways to begin fostering a sense of place.

I’ve found that in the past two years since I’ve really begun to just show up to events, my perception on Fargo has become much more pleasant. I no longer hear myself saying, “there’s nothing to do here!” and when people ask why I’ve stayed in Fargo, I don’t question my decision.

This magazine is full of things you can (and should) show up to. You can even start slow, by showing up to one new thing a month that you’ve seen on Facebook or you heard about from a friend. I guarantee that you will wonder why you haven’t shown up sooner.

The second thing that I will encourage is to give a little. This doesn’t mean money or excessive amounts of time necessarily, but giving a hand as a volunteer, giving feedback as a participant in the event, posting a photo of the event on social media or even just giving those who put in their time and resources a compliment for their work in helping create the community around them.

I found very quickly that the moment I began giving to my community is when I felt ownership in the place where I live. I began to connect with the places and the people more than I thought that I could. There was excitement in seeing the potential for my own self to impact my community. I was even able to achieve the label of “super volunteer” at the Red River Market.

I can only look forward to the next community that I will be a part of, and I am grateful to Fargo-Moorhead for giving me more than I gave.

I have two simple things for you to challenge yourself with in the next year: show up and give a little. And when you ask, “what can I give to my community?” I can assure you that their response will be nothing less.

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Alexandre Cyusa

Written by Alexandre Cyusa

Alexandre Cyusa came to the FM area in the fall of 2010 to attend Concordia College. Originally from Kigali, Rwanda, Cyusa has lived in Switzerland, Ethiopia, Guinea and France. His traveling experiences have helped him in making this world a smaller and simpler place to live in. He currently works for Folkways and is interested in community development and nurturing global citizenship.

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