When we think about annual goals, we often think about our personal goals – weights, eating healthy, drinking more water, etc. but…. what about your community goals?
Well, we have you covered! Here are six extremely low cost and fun things you can strive to do in your community in 2021. It’s time to take action!
1. Start a block club or community group.
Block clubs are no joke. If you don’t have one, you’re missing out. Sure, it can be cumbersome to coordinate but working with your neighbors to create solutions to problems is fun and effective! A block club can apply for grants for beautification, help get community initiatives off the ground and react quicker if there is a growing concern in the community. If you’re looking for a way to organize, a Facebook group seems to be the traditional way these days but you could always use slack, whatsapp, email and zoom to keep the communication flowing. Make sure you invite everyone – if language barriers are an issue, consider making signs or flyers about the new organization in multiple languages.
Block Club Bonus: you don’t ever have to worry about not getting that cup of sugar when you need it.
Tip: If you have a park or a community center, consider meeting in a neutral space so everyone feels welcome!
BONUS Tip: We have a “how to start a block club” in our online toolkit page on our website! You can download it for free here.
2. Create a neighborhood call list.
This one is an easy and effective one to do. Walk your neighborhood and talk to your neighbors – get a contact list together and pass it out. While it may seem like a weird invasion of privacy, they come in handy for many reasons including emergencies, assistance and events.
Tip: Make sure you encourage people to put it up on their refrigerator so they don’t lose it.
3. Organize a cleanup!
Maybe you have one neighbor that really needs some help with upkeep on the property? Or an area that gets heavily trashed that needs some attention? Let’s get it cleaned up! You will be surprised what two hours on a Saturday morning can do to brighten up a corner or help a neighbor. Many hands make light work! Come prepared – bring shovels, rakes, brooms, dust pans, trash bags and gloves so you can get it done with ease. Take some before and after photos – that will help inspire people who missed the event to come to the next one. When you’re thinking through how to get the word out about the event itself, we find social media, flyering the neighborhood and partnering with local politicians is a great way to let people know!
Tip: Don’t forget the donuts! Donuts are always helpful.
4. Plant flowers!
This may seem like an easy one but can you secure a few large pots with flowers for your corner? Don’t get hung up on getting the most durable and expensive kind of pots – sometimes lighter, quicker and cheaper does the trick. Consider organizing a springtime “plant swap” to get free plants! People always want to thin out their garden – that is a great time to get free plants. It doesn’t hurt to hit up an estate sale for planters or ask neighbors if they have anything to donate. Regarding the type of followers you want to plant – think low maintenance. You want to focus on native plants and perennials so they can thrive in your local climate and come back effortlessly year after year. (For example: In the northeast, you’d want to consider hostas, lilies, daisies, milkweed, sunflowers and russian sage!) If you can’t find the plants you want, you can grow them from seed in the spring and plant them when the threat of frost clears. Oh, don’t forget or underestimate the power of planting bulbs – planting spring bulbs such as daffodils, tulips and snowdrops in the fall is an investment into your community and one that gives back year after year!
Tip: Harvest the seeds in the fall to add more flowers in your community!
Bonus: The butterflies and bees will thank you so much.
5. Have a community block club event.
What is one event you wish your community had? An art show? A music event? Free popsicle day? A community potluck picnic? A community garden? A Pop Up Event? No one is asking you to do a giant project but can you do one small community event this year? Don’t forget to think about a budget and having a dedicated team – that makes all the difference! If you’re looking to keep it simple, you could have an ice cream social in your local park, buy a basketball for the court, use chalk to make hopscotch, set up a sprinkler on a hot day… the possibilities are endless!
Tip: Keep it simple.
6. Plant one tree.
There is an old saying -“ the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago… the second best is today. “ Trees provide shade, comfort and safety to our communities. They’re also important for the planet because they remove CO2 and mitigate climate change. If you can plant ONE tree this year and every year, you will have a small forest in 20 years! The birds will be thankful. Bonus points if it flowers in the spring or provides yummy fruit!
Tip: call your town hall for a list of approved trees by the forester. That will give you an idea on what trees do well in your region!
So there you have it, a few simple and nearly free things that you can do in 2021 to bring people together and strengthen your community! It is okay to “GIVE A DAMN”. Now you just have to take action! Cheers to 2021 and thank you for being committed to your community.