The eyes have it
A unique experience allowed me to “see” my hometown through the eyes of an out-of-state-family. What I “saw” was encouraging because the whole family — two young sons, 9 and 12, the mother and father — were refreshingly positive.
This got me to thinking that when we live some place in town, on farms or ranches or in subdivisions, we often pay more attention to the deficiencies than the good things. This may be because the negatives stand out and cause discussions that generally flow to pessimistic talk. We can help turn the tide of conversation and perhaps even lead the way in improving our communities by helping others, if they would like to have assistance at no cost to themselves.
What is primarily required is one or a few leaders who care enough to get neighbors together for work days. This could even include some of those high-energy town teens who so frequently complain of nothing to do. With a little advance planning and permission from the homeowner, a tangled yard can be brought back to a kept-up state or windows could be washed to let the sunshine again into the home. These projects take a little work and a little time and little money. What an uplifting experience both for the workers and the homeowner. Often the dilapidated homes belong to older folks who haven’t the physical health to do their own work or cannot afford to hire things done.
Larger projects would need accomplished handy-folks to lead/supervise the projects and could involve donations with which to purchase paint or supplies. Neighbors who can’t physically participate, yet have a vested interest in having attractive properties adjacent, might agree to make a monetary donation. On a recent walk I noticed a house that faces a small city park. The front shows that the inhabitants care as they have tried to create an attractive yard with plants and simple statuary yard decorations. It was their adjacent garage that caught my eye. The sliding garage door had come off its track making it unusable. It made me wish I could fix it or replace it myself, but know it will need to be a community effort.
As you look for challenges in your neighborhood — things you could help improve — what you and other volunteers might be able to help with sprucing up, you would be surprised how a little elbow grease can go a long way, especially working with others. If you think these run down places don’t affect you, think again. As properties look better, property values and home sales go up and enhancement can be “contagious.”
If you have ever repainted a room in your home and suddenly concluded that the adjoining room looked like it also needed a fresh coat of paint too because it looks dingy in comparison, you can extrapolate that into seeing larger projects for neighborhood improvement.
Peggy can be reached through firstname.lastname@example.org.
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