This essay, by Emma from Columbine High School, is one of the top five finalists for our scholarship. Be sure to share your thoughts in the comment section below this post!
This winter, I got my car stuck in the snow because I drove it backwards and got scared that I was going to hit the power box, so I swerved into a snowbank. After fifteen minutes of trying desperately to get out, I dug around in my garage for orange cones and put them up around my car, a defeated person.
Slowly, my neighbors came emerging from their houses. Almost all of my neighbors came over and asked me if I needed help getting my car unstuck, or if I wanted a ride to my school on the other side of town. They all took time out of their busy mornings to offer to help me out, and every single person was entirely sincere.
I love Littleton because of its sense of community. I have so many anecdotes about neighbors, even outside my cul de sac, all banding together to help each other out. People even streets away knew my cat and would call us every time he went missing, giving us information or asking if we’d found him yet. Anonymous donors gave my elementary school the money to send everyone to Outdoor Lab when I was in sixth grade. I’ve seen someone come in late to school because he stopped at a car accident to make sure that everyone was okay. Neighbors isn’t an issue of proximity in Littleton–we’re all neighbors. We all care for each other.
I can’t go anywhere in this town without seeing someone I know. My friend’s dad is also my teacher, so I’ll see him at his house. I’ll see people from my old elementary school at Virgilio’s. I’ll see my old dance teacher at King Soopers. Not to mention the relationships I’ve built simply being a customer throughout Littleton: Mark from Tamale Kitchen has watched me grow up and I talked to Lina from Dillards more than my grandma.
Littleton’s sense of community is especially clear at community events. The Summerset Festival was something I loved attending when I was a kid. It gave me a reason to look forward to September, a month otherwise associated with going back to school. That festival brought together the whole community for us to all have fun together. It was a place to see local artists and make new friends in a place where my parents felt safe enough to let me roam. Now, I get to watch that fun happen while I volunteer at a soda booth for Key Club. No matter what age someone is, all Littleton residents have a place at the Summerset Festival.
Schools are also a strong demonstration of Littleton’s sense of community. The Chaktoabine dance is held every winter and it is a chance for Chatfield, Dakota Ridge, and Columbine to all get together as part of the Littleton community and enjoy a night all together. It’s a way to celebrate the good-spirited rivalry between us and how we’re all connected. There’s also a program between theater departments at schools like Columbine, Bear Creek, and Lakewood set up so that we can all go to each other’s shows and cheer each other on. We cheer for each other louder than anyone else in the audience, and we make sure to congratulate people by name when we see them afterwards. Littleton is a community that believes in whole-hearted, wildly jubilant support.
While we’re a community that celebrates together, we’re also a community that bands together during hard times. When I casually mentioned my parent’s divorce to a girl I’d just met at a babysitting night, she hugged me and apologized and said that she was available for me to talk to anytime. In the aftermath of the tragedy at Columbine, Chatfield stopped being a true rival and welcomed the students and teachers with open arms and love. That’s the sort of kindness unique to Littleton, genuine and healing. Even today, as my school prepares for the Day of Service, it comes from the belief that neighbors help each other through dark times.
I love Littleton for our community. This town is where family begins, it’s the roots you come back to, it’s home. It’s love. It’s taught me that the most important part of any place I live will be the people I meet because they will make me better. They will make me complete.