Friday, January 8, 2010

Heart O'My Town: Barbara Kraft

When I first met Barbara Kraft, she introduced herself by saying "Hi, I'm Barb and the party's at my house!"  Wow, I thought, this is someone I want to get to know.  So I did, and what I came to learn is that this is a woman who parties with a purpose.

One of eight kids, Barb grew up as the daughter of engaged parents (her dad was on the local school board) who told her she could do anything in life.  "They always expected the best we could do," she says and those early lessons revolved around family, faith and justice and peace issues.  As a nurse by training and someone who has "visited all seven continents and lived on three," Barb has seen the good and the bad in humanity and come to realize "our shared responsibility to read and learn and form an opinion, an informed opinion."

In 2004, she opened her home for the first time to a political fundraiser, on behalf of John Kerry.  Working with a friend from the South Hills Interfaith Ministries (SHIM), a group of eighteen volunteers "said what they'd do and then did it" and the event raised $20,000.  Since that time, she has played host to supporters of State Representative Matt Smith ("I see great, great things for Matt -- he's principled, caring and follows through on what he says") and shepherded an event for Celebrate Diversity, an organization co-founded by fellow Lebo resident Elizabeth Castonguay that serves to foster cross-cultural understanding.

While I've yet to make it to a party at Barb's house, I look forward to the opportunity to meet and mingle with her terrific circle of active, engaged citizens.  Barb, you rock!

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