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Thread: Are you making your community a "better community"?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Are you making your community a "better community"?

    Last night the Extreme Home Makeover reconstructed a fire ravaged home of a person who gave out food, clothing, and help to those less fortunate that her. Each week this show finds people that have been a truly valuable asset to their community, but has suffered some hard times and their home is in disrepair. At they end of the show, a case member says that we can go to http://abc.go.com/abettercommunity/ for more information on what we can do to make our communities better.

    Most of us do things such as planning and code enforcement for our municipalities, but that is because it is the profession that we went into. Does anyone do anything else? One thing that came to mind was my dad. Living in the UP we get quite a bit of snow, and to accommodate, my dad has a four-wheeler with a plow on it. Because it is so easy for him, and there are a few elderly people, he will plow the sidewalk for everyone on the block. I also know people who will mow their neighbor’s yards and such.

    Is there anything that you do to make your community better other than what you do at work?
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
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    I pick up trash when I am out for walks.....
    My husband slow plows the neighbors walks and driveways...
    Bake cookies for the neighbors during the holidays...



    Probably not what you have in mind, but with a few night meetings a week and a two year old, I don't have time to grocery shop much less anything else. Not for a lack of wanting to do anything, just short on time.

    I am in a local service club, though I get fustrated because it seems the majority of our 'hands on' projects include spending money. I would much rather help Habitat for Humanity or the DV Shelter with repairs to their buildings.

  3. #3
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    Does anyone do anything else? Is there anything that you do to make your community better other than what you do at work?
    I help little old ladies cross streets. I also help support the local economy every time I go to the local topless joint.

    Does either of those count?
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    Being a volunteer firefighter I would say I give back to my community even though I'm a renter (yes we are citizens too).

    In this world I have discovered, through firefighting, that there are givers and there are takers. Unfortunetly every year the amount of takers is growing in terms of the amount of givers (to society).

    What are you a giver or a taker?
    @GigCityPlanner

  5. #5
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tide
    I would say I give back to my community even though I'm a renter (yes we are citizens too).
    Off-topic:
    You're a RENTER? I wasn't aware that you'd been convicted of any felonies! How much time did you do? You don't strike me as being the drug dealing rapist type of guy at all.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  6. #6
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    I to what I can to make the community I live in and work in to become better, even though I am just a renter.

    At work, I try to be as helpful and courteous as possible.

    At home, I try to participate in planning workshops as much as possible and pickup trash when I can.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Coragus's avatar
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    I'm on my city's downtown design committee, which grew in importance after we attained National Main Street status. I like that I get to help with some of the downtown preservation, even if it is only recomendatory in nature.
    The cookies are worth the drive

  8. #8
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Several people on our staff are very active about picking up trash anytime they see it. I have witnessed one of them walking across a busy street and back again because a flyer for some band was blowing around.

    A neighbor of mine is the head of a Young Adults Ministry at our church and has something going on every week. These include fun activities in addition to volunteering actives.

    Does anyone participate in any crime watch, neighborhood, or historic district organizations?
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    I am a local committee that helps maintain a 6 acre park in our neighborhood. We do things several times a year including a weekly pick up the trash day. The City does not do a good job of cleaning up the park, particularly the cigarette butts that are around the playground ( we are asking the city to ban smoking in the park). We also have provided trash bags for dog owners to pick up after their dogs, cleaned out the creek that runs through the park, and improved some of the trails in the park. On Earth day every year we plant 10 new trees that we got Starbucks to pay for. Last year, we were able to get a pavilion donated that went in last fall.

    I also hand out flyers door to door that announce our monthly community council meetings. I served as the vice chair and as the secretary over the years. In my city, all planning related matters first must be presented to the community councils and a recommendation from the council is included in the record.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Plus JNA's avatar
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    Let's see, I have been/participated:
    - Volunteer Firefighter/EMT, would like to get CERT training.
    - VOC - Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado - trail building
    - Boy Scout Leader
    - Kitchen worker in church community outreach at Thanksgiving
    - ARC - American Red Cross - Disaster services training, had thought of going National
    - Creek/greenway clean up
    - Community Recycling Days
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    Glad to see other people are out there picking up trash. I like to walk along my dirt road and fill garbage bags with all of the trash people think should be disposed along isolated roads.

    I also enjoy spending time with lonly senior citizens from my church by stopping by with lunch or taking them out for an evening. I learn some great stories about their life back in the early 1900s.

    I find that just speaking positively of other communities is a service to uneducated people in our society. I speak very hightly of Ypsilanti and Detroit which are two communities near my hometown having a bad connotation for outsiders. Although Detroit has a major issues that need to be addressed, I speak highly (praise actually) of the city. For people who left after the race riots of the 1960s and have never been back, I like to inform them of all the great things happening in Detroit. It took 50 years for the city to spiral downtown so the problems won't be fixed overnight. I find Detroit and Ypsilanti to have a higher qualtiy of life than many suburban communities even with some of the urban ills they face. I have been able to talk many of my friends into giving these cities a second chance and they have been surprised by the progress these cities have made. Some have even become advocates in their own right for these communities.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    Does anyone participate in any crime watch, neighborhood, or historic district organizations?
    I WAS involved with the neighborhood association, but the meetings became too frustrating for me... It's very unproductive when people complain about the same old stuff, over & over, yet won't act on any suggestions. They are also very cynical about town government, even when town leaders (some of whom attend neighborhood association meetings) are trying to be helpful.

  13. #13
    I've helped out with two local school districts (from a planning persepctive) to get their Capital Facilities Plans in line with the City/Counties they are working with...helps with passing G.O. Bond measures when they go to the public and ask for more money.....

    I also volunteer my time coaching 10-14 y/o's playing hockey (Pee-wee/Bantam's) and I enjoy the hell out of that. Most parents are amazed that I am so willing to give up my nights and weekends to help coach, considering I have no kids in the program.
    Forechecking is overrated.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Painted about 8 old ladies houses as part of "Paint the Town"
    Worked on about four Habitat houses
    Participates in charettes
    Provides public comments on plans.
    Board member of a defunct organization "Detroiter's at Heart"
    I pick up all the cans on the side of the road while walking around my cabin, can usually collect enough in a year to pay an electric bill. It seems people in northern Michigan like to drink and drive, and despite being (for the most part) poor, throw their cans away.
    Lots of other stuff, can't really remember it all.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Budgie's avatar
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    I do the following to make my town a better community:

    Coach youth soccer;
    Treasurer of the Elks Club;
    Member of Rotary;
    Help downtown building owners with their buildings (I pick up a hammer and crowbar);
    Deliver Meals-on-Wheels;
    Board member of the County Leadership Program;
    Make presentations to various groups;
    Say "Hi" to everyone I see;
    Pick up trash while walking my dog;
    I buy locally whenever possible;
    Participate in neighborhood get togethers (Having a nut fry next weekend in my neighbor's garage);
    Drink responsibly at the pub;

    etc... etc... etc....
    "And all this terrible change had come about because he had ceased to believe himself and had taken to believing others. " - Leo Tolstoy

  16. #16
    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Budgie
    I do the following to make my town a better community:

    Say "Hi" to everyone I see;

    etc... etc... etc....
    I always try to go out of my way to be polite - I think being polite is so important!Saying please, thank you, excuse me, hold doors for people, help them if they've dropped something, etc. I get quite irritated when walking into the store and someone doesn't hold the door for me and it basically slams in my face.

    We went out to eat yesterday and the waitress was such a &!*@$. I don't expect someone to kiss my butt, but she was downright rude. So, I was totally being annoying asking her in a super friendly way 'how is your day, have you been busy, etc. etc. basically forcing her to answer.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Budgie's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by SW MI Planner
    I always try to go out of my way to be polite - I think being polite is so important!
    Something else that I think is important in building a community's social capital and a young persons self esteem is to learn the name of the kids in your neighborhood and refer to them by their name.
    "And all this terrible change had come about because he had ceased to believe himself and had taken to believing others. " - Leo Tolstoy

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    The "alternative" school for the socially-disaffected youth of our county is right over our office. Those little s*hits are always leaving Yahoo cans, used gum, etc in the elevator. One of my co-workers always picks it up and throws it away. Is he sick or what?

    He also is obsessive about ridding our county of "air potatoes", a non-native species (he's a landscape architect). He is staging another "air-potato raid" next weekend. If my kid doesn't shape up, he'll be out there working, too!

    I think we've done the volunteer thread before, so all I can say is I've been a scout leader and soccer coach (winning team!).

    And RJ says he helps the community here in the panhandle by not driving after he's been sampling fine wines!

  19. #19
    Cyburbian IlliniPlanner's avatar
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    Don't forget that those who live in the community that they work for are walking kiosks with answers to every question all your neighbors, relatives, friends and chuchgoers have. Even if I never did get a speeding ticket before and still knew where to pay the fines.

    Who says there's a day off?
    One lot of redevelopment prevents a block of sprawl.

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