Celebrate Your Neighborhood. Be The Best You Can Be.
I want people to feel whole and happy, to be free, to live without fear and to be the best they can be. I want to bring back the American Spirit of decency, honesty, kindness, trust, self-reliance, hope, optimism, resourcefulness, ingenuity and creativity to our community. I want Harrisonburg to be a place where people live in hope and optimism and not fear, where we work together to make it a better place. It is just all of us together and the quicker we realize this, the better for everyone.
I support strong, bonded families old fashioned values of honesty, independence, self-reliance, pride in your work, doing the right thing and stretching your imagination. Communities need to foster that. We need to make looking out for each other, celebrating victories and creating safe and beautiful neighborhoods the norm.
Mentorships, community workshops and sister neighborhood programs would be a good start. People are more encouraged when they feel someone else cares, takes the time or sets an example. We have the Blacks Run Clean-Up Day. Why not a Neighborhood Clean-Up Day (coordinated with Habitat For Humanity and the United Way)? Or better yet, work with faith based and community groups (The Community Foundation, Habitat, United Way, Our Community Place...) to develop a "Second Saturday" Program to match a wish list of repair or fixer-upper needs to community skill sets. Have 2-3 (rotating) organizations commit to one Saturday each month to reach out and help (It is similar to the HARTS program but for repairs and only the 2nd Saturday of each month). When I was growing up we just called our neighbors. It would be nice to return to a sense of community where helping each other is the norm.
The police, firemen, EMTs, refuse collectors and other "public servants" are part of the community too, we should support their efforts to keep us safe. Having safety officers in schools not only protects our children but helps remove the fear that the media pushes. It helps children realize that police are people too and that they chose their risky job to protect us. Maybe even return the "beat cops" like they had a century ago to encourage safer streets.
Third Thursdays "Neighbors Night Out"; Get to know your neighbor. Encourage neighborhoods to have a night out to socialize with each other, maybe even have the Parks and Rec. Department suggest themes for the evening (game night, 3-legged race, kickball...) and have the local news and paper feature a neighborhood a month.
Have "Take Out Tuesdays" so you and your families can relax while supporting local restaurants. Enjoy them on their slow days so they don't have to stress about how they will get by. Allow food stamp cards to be used for take out then too (so no one feels left out)
Let's keep Harrisonburg a town where everyone feels safe, where you can walk down the street and be in a store or restaurant without fear. Let's keep the friendly city friendly and be respectful and courteous to each other.