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November 16, 2012- Gratitude is great, but inspiration is better. Here are a few episodes from the past two weeks that make us an inspired community:

Marist wins.

The day after the national election, Chuck Todd, NBC’s chief White House correspondent and on-air numbers person, was congratulated for the accuracy of his reporting throughout the campaign. Immediately and unabashedly, Todd revealed the source of his numbers: Lee Miringoff and his staff at Marist.

Last weekend I went to Breezy Point, the beach community in Queens that was devastated by Superstorm Sandy, where I own a damaged, but still-standing bungalow.

In Poughkeepsie, the Children’s Medical Group was busy with an event to aid the victims of the storm, including people at Breezy.

What does a children’s health organization in Poughkeepsie have to do with a tragedy 100 miles away? Caring.

And talk about caring.

That reminds me of the Vassar Haiti Project, in which Andrew and Lila Meade sell authentic Haitian art in our area. All the profits go to building a school and hospital in Chemaitre, Haiti, a five-hour car trip and two-hour up-the-mountain walk from Port-au-Prince. They held a successful fundraiser this week.

“I needed that,” Family Services’ Executive Director Brian Doyle said. He was referring to the all-night-long inspiration from R.E.A.L. Skills Network’s fifth annual Lateef Islam memorial.

Honoring several people, including Poughkeepsie activists Sister Zakiyyah and Mae Parker-Harris, and professor Larry Mamiya of Vassar College, it was a night of great speeches, moving poetry by Gold Wilkerson, youth dance by M*Power, and songs galore, including two numbers by the AME Zion Church choir.

It was all to keep alive the robust spirit of a gentle, justice-first Poughkeepsie leader.

It’s easy to be thankful for what’s going on in the community by getting a glance at the short new video from Children’s Media Project — This jazzy, youth-produced piece puts together images, music and animation with a spirit of adventure that makes you want to pitch in.

The topic is gruesome, but the response is inspirational — I’m talking about the way our community addresses domestic violence.

I recently heard a moving presentation by Leah Feldman, the new executive director of Domestic Violence Services of Dutchess County, describing a new collaborative community effort to limit domestic violence–related homicides.

And it sure was a lift to see four happy men with developmental disabilities strolling along, with a ton of fun and friendship, with their house manager, Monica Robinson, at the New Horizons Resources headquarters in Pleasant Valley.

Let’s give thanks — for all that inspiration.

Peter Leonard’s column runs every other Friday. He is the director of fieldwork at Vassar College: 845-437-5280,