During this contentious election season it is easy to become discouraged and think that you cannot make a difference. What can one vote possibly change? I know the choices are limited. But not voting is still a choice. Consider the power of one: one vote or one who doesn’t vote can change our lives.

Recently students from Shanahan Middle School were learning the power of one during a day of service as they took to the streets of Delaware. 13 students came to Andrews House for their service day and were able to clean up our vegetable garden, create a new flower bed, rake leaves, clean our entrances (we have 4 large ones), and dust-bust cobwebs in the corners of this vast old house. All of this in just one hour! The labor of many hands made short work of what would have taken two hands probably the entire day (or even longer) to accomplish.

On a local level, Andrews House is a living example of what many people coming together can accomplish. Thousands of volunteers and supporters took a condemned house and revived it into the beautiful building and thriving community center it is today. That work of many hands continues in the multitude of volunteers and supporters who give their time, treasure, and talent to make life better for everyone in our community.

Each of our programs at Andrews House rely on an army of volunteers. This work could simply not be done without them.

These volunteers are as different as our current presidential candidates. Each volunteer has their own opinions, ideas, religion, and cultural heritage; each unique. They bring their individual ideas, knowledge, heritage and values to come together and work toward a goal or to solve a problem or to change a community.

This can be seen in the team spirit of the 2016 Cleveland Indians. Despite vastly different nationalities, cultural heritage, and even language, and presumably religion and political views, theirs is a spirit of inclusion and acceptance; a spirit of mutual support to get the job done. And a splendid job they are doing.

This is what makes America great: this spirit of working together to accomplish great things, to make life better for all of us.

In his recent book, “How Would Jesus Vote,” Darrell Bock describes our government as a social contract in which “every citizen has a right to be at the table, to participate in, and be protected by the union the people have formed.”

The preamble to the Constitution words this quite nicely. It also includes the words “in order to form a more perfect union,” which, as Bock points out, was to find a way to govern a nation of great diversity of views “across a spectrum—from orthodox Christians to deists, from those who held to states’ rights to those who wanted centralized federal power. How could a nation function in such diversity?”

Indeed, that is the question we continue to ask ourselves.

Bock goes on to write: “The refusal to create a state religion proclaimed that diversity is a given.”

And, “that a system where freedom and liberty are the driving traits, and power can be acquired in a way that tilts toward a majority…the contract can go anywhere majority passion or choice leads, overriding the freedoms of the minority. Then the only check in this environment is a recognition and respect for the rights of others as well as my own. In a social contract, trusting people to consider the freedoms of everyone assumes the best humanity.”

That is what also makes America great: trusting people to consider the freedoms of everyone. You are what make America great. Whoever you are, whatever you think. So go vote your heart, vote your conscience, vote your humanity. You are the power of one. And you can get things done.

Melinda Corroto

Contributing Columnist

Melinda Corroto is Executive Director of Andrews House.