Happy Valentine’s Day!
“Hey, Charlene,” I hear you say. “Individual actions like the ones listed below don’t seem aligned with Inspiring Communities’ systems change approach.”
And to that I say, hold that thought! Here on the Wayside blog we try to keep that systems focus. But… in my experience, sometimes the hardest part of creating social change is identifying a low-barrier, non-intimidating place to start.
Who says these need to be individual actions? Starting a group that helps newcomers feel welcome? Try adapting actions 1, 7 or 8 as a group activity. Want to help those experiencing housing insecurity? There are suggestions for that. Whether you tackle one or more of these projects as an individual or as a group, these can be the easy-entry activities that can expand your circle, while offering a sense of accomplishment that will encourage people to want to do more.
- Make handmade valentines from recycled materials – hand them out to the grocery store and drugstore cashiers, health care workers and first responders, food preparers, and caregivers in your community if this feels right given COVID conditions in your area.
OR post them on random community boards and poster poles near you to brighten a strangers’ day.
- Make sandwiches and cookies for people who are experiencing housing insecurity and who are living rough.
- Make masks for the people who are experiencing housing insecurity and who are living rough;
- Host a dance / mime show outside the windows of your nearest seniors centre – provide entertainment at a safe social distance. Dance like no one is watching and they will only see your joy, not your two left feet.
- Plan your garden, whether that is a community garden, in your yard, on your balcony or a wee herb garden in your window. Plan to plant enough of whatever you will grow so that you can share with your friends, neighbours or a soup kitchen. Sharing food is a great way to celebrate love!
- Crochet wee hearts and hang them on trees in your neighborhood, or outside the homes of newcomers.
- If the sidewalks are clear, take sidewalk chalk and leave messages of care around your neighborhood. This is ANTI-HATE graffiti, the best kind.
- Paint rocks and leave them around your neighborhood to delight passersby. (If you are the person who has been doing this in Clayton Park – thank you!)
- Send a letter or a postcard or even an email to someone who is making a difference in your community, whether that is a super volunteer at your church or the food bank, a lawmaker who has taken action, or the friendly crossing guard who ensures your child gets to school safely.
Read how our Inspiring Communities nested initiatives are showing their love to their communities.
How will you spend Valentine’s Day? Share your thoughts in the comments!