Inspirational Community Engagement Reports Ring in the Holiday Season

Since I came into office almost two years ago, I have made increasing citizen involvement my number one priority. I believe that starts with engaged communities and connected neighborhoods. Whether it be serving as a neighborhood watch or emergency response volunteer, helping in the schools, or visiting a senior who finds it hard to get out of the house, we all have something to offer.

My Community Engagement Initiative has encouraged a renewed spirit of volunteerism and community involvement. As this year comes to a close, I would like to thank all of you who have answered the call and made the Braddock District a better place for all of us. Over 100 people participated in our Leadership Institute or Neighborhood Colleges, and many are now leading, or participating in, new community efforts and have inspired others to do the same. We highlighted some of these great undertakings earlier this fall, and now have further good news to report.

A group is regularly cleaning the area around the Stone Haven entry marker, and as a result, also cleaning a portion of Braddock Road. A Boy Scout and his family have taken on enhancing the landscaping of the Kings Park Library grounds. Tony Vellucci organized a clean-up of Royal Lake and the streams that empty into the lake in late October and early November. Residents of Kings Park West, Kings Park West Townhouses, Park West Townhouses, Lakepointe and Glen Cove pitched in to clean up trash and debris in the stream beds, on the trails and by the roadsides that drain into Royal Lake. Lois Brown celebrated her birthday by collecting food to take to the Annandale Neighborhood Food Site. The communities of Oak Hill and Olde Forge/Surrey Square pitched right in to help when a home in each neighborhood suffered damage due to fire. Several neighborhoods celebrated Fall with Halloween festivals and parades, and as the year drew to an end, the Little Run Citizen’s Association had a Winter Hayride.

With the coming of Winter, there are more opportunities to help our neighbors in need. Even though the economy in our local region is stronger than in many parts of the country, we have still seen a significant rise in the number of those in need. At the annual Taste of Braddock event, our office collected donations for the Annandale Food Site. We have agreed to keep the donation box here in our office and would welcome any non-perishable food items that you would like to give. Over the holidays, please consider taking some time to volunteer at a soup kitchen, to help staff a hypothermia program for the homeless, to teach a child with special needs, or to help an elderly or disabled neighbor rake leaves or shovel snow.

By working together we will strengthen our communities. Peace on Earth, good will to all. Happy holidays.

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