As a Realtor, I try to be an excellent resource for people’s real estate needs. Home buying and selling tips, information on loans, things of that nature. But, nobody ever talks about the things behind the scenes that bring out the real colors of a city and make it truly great.
Today is the 6 year anniversary marking the passing of a best friend of mine. He died of a heroin overdose at the age of 24. Contrary to the myth that all users are just ambition-less junkies, he was a 4.0 UCLA engineering student. When people say the world is less of a place without someone in it, that truly applied to my friend. Little did I know that his passing would light a fire under me that resulted in some of my most memorable life moments.
I had never been involved in any community activities growing up, I never cared or thought about things like “grass roots groups”, city hall meetings, city council, or anything involving the schools. After his passing, I became deeply involved in a non profit group aimed towards raising the awareness of drugs in our community and providing help to those that needed it. Many of these programs are still in place to this day. Some people would say things like “Simi is just full of drugs”, “Why would anyone live in a city like Simi” But the more I became involved, the more I saw how wrong those people were.
The fact of the matter is that drugs are everywhere, every city, state and country. At the start of our efforts we hit a lot of head wind from city and public officials. What happened after that opened my eyes to how great of a city Simi Valley is. City officials listening to the people, then most amazingly, creating change. Simi became a poster city of the forefront of taking action against the opiod epidemic sweeping our nation. “It takes a village” became our motto. To live in a city that backed, supported, and supplied the resources for us to grow, was just awesome. It was a feeling of proud I had never felt before, that of being involved in a cause, which in turn received it’s city’s support.
Rather than sweeping the problem under the rug like many places are still doing, Simi acknowledged, acted, and took the task at hand head on. Creating a task force, supporting grass roots efforts that expanded to a national level, countless city hall meetings, marches to raise awareness, change in our schools, these are just a few examples of the things the people in our community were doing to be proactive. I was and still am so proud to live in a city like Simi Valley.
All cities have their own share of problems, what defines them is how they react to those problems. As a resident of Simi Valley, I know they have the well being of our city and it’s people in mind.