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About: Rita Arancibia

    Rita ArancibiaRita Arancibia, a native of Illinois has lived in Clarksville since 2002 with her husband Dr. Marcos Arancibia. To friends, colleagues and community leaders she is known for her involvement in community organizations throughout Clarksville. Rita’s love for helping people started at an early age when her family visited local nursing homes on Sunday afternoons and as a girl scout. While living in Chile, she was no stranger to volunteering, tutoring students at a small school in the Andes. Rita has continued volunteering for more than 40 years.

    In 2003, she organized a Housing and Homeless Coalition, which under her leadership and vision helped create the Old FireHouse Day Shelter and Resource Center and Room in the Inn Winter Shelter Program for homeless persons. In 2009, she started Empty Bowls, a grass roots initiative providing support to Loaves and Fishes and Urban Ministries Grace Assistance Food Pantry. Recently, she founded Hands on Clarksville along with a community advisory team. Hands On Clarksville is a program of Hands on Nashville and works to inspire and mobilize volunteers and create new volunteer opportunities to bring citizens into service.

    Throughout her career she has been an active organizer, from community festivals in rural Illinois, development of the Clarksville Downtown Market, organizing outreach programs in Public Housing to connecting various civic and community groups to bring about positive change in her community. She is known for leading people from idea to action and turning ideas for change into projects that change lives and build community.

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    Our Community Matters


    Where you learn about your community, and all that we are!

    I am thrilled with the opportunity to write about community in this new column “Our Community Matters.” As I sat down to write, I thought of many great topics that I could choose. I kept coming back to how important it is to me to feel connected to my community, to feel that I am a part of making it a better place; to feel I am participating and grounded- that I have roots here. Then it struck me and I realized that the feeling of being a part of something we call community – well, it’s a soul thing. So I thought it would be interesting to do a survey modeled after the Knight Foundation’s “Soul of the Community” Project. The survey helps cities discover what really attaches people to their community. Is it safe streets, great schools, affordable housing, health care access or is it something deeper that draws people to a certain place. What makes them want to put down roots and build a life there? «Read the rest of this article»

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