I had an interesting morning today. Caity and I headed to the South Vancouver Neighbourhood House to pick up a $500 cheque from the Vancouver Foundation and their Small Neighbourhood Grant program. I was quite relieved that my application ( a duty suggested by our amazing previous President) was accepted and I hope I can make a go of this project and have our little association and the community behind it.
See, despite my loner leanings, tend to get myself into situations that people with social anxiety would scream over. But I do find it to be (mostly) the best cure. So I am this years’ President of the Tenants Association for our rental units. This is a community building group supported by the MVHC, who work with us and support any initiatives we come up with.
The event this morning was great, because I met and heard many of the other recipients and their projects. They ranged from block parties, movie in the park nights, earthquake preparedness, and much more. It was very inspiring, and I was busy taking notes to add to what I want to do with our grant.
Half of our money will probably go again to our annual Christmas party. We had a great turnout last year and people really got into the spirit of things bringing loads of extra food. This year, the housing is building us a small community garden, so I am hoping to create an event around that.
I am also hoping to see about getting one more raised bed that perhaps could be for all the children in the complex. I will talk to the volunteer group and see what they think.
The whole message of the grants and today was that community building is crucial to keep a city and neighbourhoods alive. It is especially tough in Vancouver right now due to the real estate market. I also find that rental units tend not to be overly neighbourly…most people are focused just on working and getting by.
I came across this site and I think what they are looking at is related to the lack of village that many areas face these days when it comes to families and children. This study…
Go Play Outside! Reframing risk to promote children’s outdoor play
Funded by the Lawson Foundation, this study is to develop an evidence-based online risk reframing tool for parents and educators of children (specifically aged 6-12 years) to educate them about the importance of outdoor risky play for children.
…struck me especially. My childhood in the 70’s had me move from a suburban dream village that was filled with stay at home mom’s that watched us kids roam from house to house and all over to tenements in Edinburgh where we played around burned out cars on big empty hard scrabble fields. I don’t know how safe that was, but at least we were roaming and playing.
There are many aspects of what makes play ‘safe’ but an aware and not overly sensitive or controlling community is probably a vital part of that equation.
I will let you know how well our community garden event goes. We are waiting for it to be completed first. In the meantime, the empty garden boxes have been a perfect place for the local kids to play….risky? Who knows. At least they are having fun.