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New Year's resolutions can include community goals

Jan. 17, 2013 @ 10:40 PM

Every new year people the world over pause to reflect on the past year and to setup goals and resolutions for the year ahead. Typically, it seems, most people pick resolutions that are very personal such as getting in shape or losing weight. However, I find it can be just as rewarding to set more broad scoped goals that benefit your family or community. Create Huntington would like to encourage you to set one new year's resolution that will help your community.

These community resolutions don't have to be big or complicated. In fact, just like any life changing decision, I would encourage you to start small and slowly work your way up to bigger endeavours. Build upon a small resolution this year and, after a few years, who knows maybe you'll have transformed your community in a widely perceptible manner.

So what are some good community resolutions? Well, I can't really tell you what is good for you but here are some resolutions to help get your creative juices flowing.

ADOPT YOUR BLOCK. Honestly, this is a pretty small but incredibly rewarding step. Adopting your block means that you are committing to keeping your block litter free. If a whole block seems like too much then consider just adopting your street between the two nearest cross streets. Or even just your side of the street. You could spend a few minutes each day (or even just once a week) picking up trash and other debris that appears on our street, in your street-gutters, or on your lawns. You'll quickly notice how great your street looks when it is litter free and you'll feel great for having polished your section of the neighborhood.

JOIN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION. This is a once a month commitment. Go to your neighborhood association meetings. Meet some of your neighbors and find out what they are doing to help improve your neighborhood. Bring a positive "let's fix it" attitude to your meetings -- odds are good others in the group already share your frustrations so try to keep the meetings positively focused on fixing. Don't let the meeting devolve into a gripe session. While you're at the meetings you might even hear about some fun neighborhood events you can participate in or even volunteer at.

GET TO KNOW YOUR NEIGHBORS. If you don't know who lives in each of the houses that you are immediate neighbors with then go introduce yourself. If you already know the folks in those two houses branch out and introduce yourself to a couple of other neighbors. Neighbors who know each other care more about each other. This means you'll naturally look out for each other and your property. Simply getting to know your neighbors can help reduce property crime (it isn't a panacea but every small bit helps).

ATTEND A CHAT-N-CHEW. These informal meetings happen every Thursday evening from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the lobby of the Frederick building downtown. It's open to everyone in the community regardless of your political ideology, religious preference, income level, or age. The only restriction is that you don't get to gripe. The meetings are focused on positive solutions to problems in the area and on cool or interesting positive developments/projects/ideas that are being enacted in the area. If you have an interesting idea we'd love to hear it. If you don't we still love to have you come by and share your insights into the ideas others are working on.

Please, consider making a new years community resolution. It will improve your life and the lives of everyone around you.

Bill Rawlinson is a lifelong nomad who has settled down and claimed Huntington as his home.