Year in Review
Here we are on the last day of 2019...and blog post number 365 of the #365ofgoodWR project! I remember wondering when I started the project "will there be enough things to post about for an entire year?" Well I can assure you that was not an issue at all! In fact, I had the opposite problem as there were so many things to post about, I often struggled to choose which ones to pick :)
Thanks for following along this year and commenting, retweeting, and sharing ideas. I loved hearing your stories of how a specific post motivated you to attend an event or learn more about an organization and get involved in some way.
One of the most surprising things for me over the year was how much I enjoyed writing. Writing has never been my strong point, but developing the practice of writing something everyday has really changed my feelings about it. I'm looking forward to continuing that practice in some way, though, to be honest, I am excited to not have the pressure of writing every single day!
I suspect my writing in the new year will be more focused on a few issues that I am particularly interested in. You can expect some posts about active transportation, affordable housing, and Kitchener Council discussions. I'll be posting them on my blog, on Twitter, and Facebook. Feel free to follow along.
What are your plans in the new year? Do you have an organization or project you hope to be a part of? If so, feel free to share in the comments. Happy new year everyone!
Home for the Holidays
I usually have music playing in the background whenever I'm home. Over the holidays, I definitely got my fill of Christmas music! One of the common themes throughout these songs was the idea of being home for the holidays. As I have been doing some reading over the break on housing and homelessness, I couldn't help but reflect on the fact that there are some folks in our community who don't have a place to call home right now. And many others are facing risk of losing the housing they are currently in.
Thankfully we have many in our community who are working on ways to improve this situation. But they need all the help they can get! If you're not familiar with some of these organizations, take a moment to learn about them in the links below and find out ways that you can become involved to help us create a community where everyone has a home, not just for the holidays, but year-round.
The Working Centre
The Social Development Centre
Homelessness and Housing Umbrella Group
Union Sustainable Development Co-op
Waterloo Region Yes In My BackYard
These are just a few organizations working on homelessness and poverty issues in our community. Comment below with others that should be included! #365ofgoodWR
NYE in WR
Yikes! Somehow my calendar is telling me that in just a couple of days we'll be entering a new year and a new decade! As we look forward to all that might mean, today's #365ofgoodWR post shares a few family-friendly ways to say goodbye to 2019 and ring in the new year!
In Waterloo you'll want to head over to Waterloo Public Square between 6:00-9:00pm on Dec. 31st. There you'll find free hot chocolate, music, an interactive light table, games, and more. Bring along your skates too for some fun on the ice rink! Find out more here.
In Cambridge, the Hespeler Arena hosts New Year's Eve fun from 5:00-8:00pm. There will be free skating, along with free skate and helmet rentals if needed. Dan the Music Man will provide the entertainment alongside games, activities, and an inflatable obstacle course! Check it out here.
You'll most likely find me at Kitchener's celebrations though happening at City Hall from 6pm until midnight. There will be skating on offer as well as crafts, music, and games. Fill your pockets with quarters before you leave home though as there are a variety of vintage arcade games to play (this is what I am really looking forward to!). Find out all the details here.
The holidays often provide a little more 'flex' time and I decided to use mine to see the latest Tom Hanks flick A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood (if you go, bring tissues!). As I headed over to the Apollo cinema, I was thinking how local independent movie theatres like the Apollo and the Princess in Waterloo really fit in well with the #365ofgoodWR project. These theatres often offer a variety of unique events that can bring people together and get people discussing important issues. I'm thinking of showings of films like Knock Down the House and Push as well as events such as hosting election night parties. I also appreciate that I can get to these theatres fairly easily by walking, biking, or taking transit. Plus, I know that the owners and employees of these places are very supportive of numerous community events and organizations. And, of course, one more reason to love these theatres - buttered popcorn! So if you have some extra time over the holiday break at all, maybe you'll want to head over to your closest independent theatre for the evening :)
Although I try to listen to podcasts throughout the year, I always find I have a little bit more time over the holidays to listen to them, and spend some time finding new ones as well. One series I'm looking forward to listening to is the Life Stories of Displacement podcasts put out through the Social Development Centre. These stories were collected through their Oral History Project and focus on sharing stories that we may not often hear. From the website: "The Life Stories project started recording the history of our community told by persons who live on low income and have experienced marginalization in its many forms. Their voices were not represented in the long sequence of decisions that brought us to the present moment of reshaping urban development in the region."
What podcasts are you listening to right now? Comment below!
Wonders of Winter
It's several days into winter break and hopefully you've had some time to relax(?!) and spend some time with family and friends. If you're looking for a fun way to get outside for a fun activity, look no further than Waterloo Park's Wonders of Winter. Lights are turned on in the park everyday until New Year's (from 5:30-10:30 pm). There's also hot chocolate, trolley rides, and maybe you'll even see Santa hanging around! You may consider taking the ION as there are several stops nearby, and one right in the park. #365ofgoodWR
I'm a fan of memes, and given I'm taking a bit of a break today to spend time with family for Christmas, we're keeping the #365ofgoodWR project light. Do you have a favourite gif or meme around the theme of volunteering? I've shared mine below...because the only thing that makes volunteering better is adding Buddy the Elf :) Share your favourites below and if you're celebrating today, Merry Christmas!
Gift of Journalism
The holiday season often comes with lots of gift giving and I have shared my preference for 'experiences over things' in previous posts. So in keeping with that idea, I offer one more gift suggestion for you - gift a subscription to a publication. There are many options, but I'd encourage you to look at local/regional newspapers to start. We have seen many newspapers cease publication in recent years and I believe that's a real loss to any community. Also, as a big supporter of local initiatives, projects, and events, subscribing to a local newspaper is a great way to stay connected to all of these things. Plus, digital subscriptions can reduce the environmental impact of your gift, and it's super convenient as you can read it anywhere!
Do you subscribe to any publications (local or otherwise)? What are your favourites and why? Comment below! #365ofgoodWR
Many folks at Midtown Radio have been busy preparing a special holiday show that will be playing at Midtown Radio today, tomorrow, and on Dec. 25th (starting at 7pm). Tune in to hear holiday memories, thoughts about favourite Christmas songs and movies, and reflections on things to come in 2020, plus much more. I'm definitely planning on listening and hope you will too! #365ofgoodWR
As we near the end of the year (and, well, a decade even!), we all see those Best Of/Worst Of lists making their appearance. Today, I share The Guardian's The Upside List of the most positive things that happened in 2019. Although the #365ofgoodWR project is all about highlighting the good things happening locally, it's nice to take a moment to see the good happening in a broader context. So here's their list:
• The school strikes and mounting awareness of the climate emergency.
• The fact that more people voted in elections than ever before.
• The sudden awareness of the power of the tree.
• The great progress in the battle against Aids and malaria.
• The growing consumer backlash against environmental waste.
• The cautious optimism about ketamine as a treatment for psychological disorders.
• The numbers of companies successfully experimenting with four-day working weeks.
• Upsider responses to our requests for unsung heroes – we will publish this as an alternative honours list between Christmas and new year.
As for this week, an eclectic flurry of uplifting journalism, including:
• Why Dutch prisons are so empty. Three-minute read.
• A room with a view (to a career in journalism). One-minute read.
• Young women take over Finnish government. Even shorter.
• A new country for the Pacific? Ninety-second read.
• The town giving families $500 a month. Two-minute read.
What do you think? Did they cover all the 'biggies'? What else would you add to this list? Comment below!
About this Blog
A blog to highlight some of the great organizations and people in our community!