HARVIN COLUMN: Resolve to make community a better place
Itís New Yearís resolution time since we are only three days into 2013.
You know, those pesky ideas that we make on Jan. 1, and forget by Jan. 30.
But Iíve found if the resolutions are written down in a place where they can live all year long, somehow they crop up six months later.
So Iím writing down some resolutions we can make for our community, and promise to check in from time to time to see how we are doing.
These resolutions, though, are based on some wonderful ideas that people have percolating that will make the Lowcountry a better place.
Like checking in with the Charleston Parks Conservancy on their community garden initiatives. Harry Lesesne, a senior advisor with Charleston Mayor Joe Riley, was hired by the Conservancy in November as executive director, leaving the indefatigable Jim Martin to do what he does best: create positive garden programs in the community.
The conservancy has the heavy hitter, businesswoman and philanthropist Darla Moore, behind it, so this move is good news for expansion plans. They have plans for a full-fledged urban horticultural center on 2.7 acres at Sycamore and Magnolia roads where people can not only garden, but learn how to do it.
Feeding ourselves is one of the most important things we can do as a community, but many of us have lost touch with that most basic skill: how to get our hands a little dirty by planting seeds and pulling weeds.
Martin knows this and has helped start community gardens in several areas, most notably the Elliotborough Community Garden. In December, the harvest was donated to Crisis Ministries, a Charleston nonprofit dedicated to helping homeless people become self-sufficient again.
Our resolution should not just feed people, but help people learn to feed themselves again.
Another effort that needs some resolution is the family reading program at the Trident Literacy Association. The group won a $65,000 grant this year from the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, but it is going to waste because not enough families are using the services. Itís a grant that will be renewed from year to year if enough families show the need, but interest in the program has been slow in growing.
If you know a family that could benefit from the program, pass the word along. You will not only be helping that family, but you will be helping our community keep an important resource alive.
Another idea that deserves to be kept alive is the effort by the Hampton Park Terrace Historic District to gather old photos and memories of the homes around Hampton Park. While this is a heroic effort for the 100-year-old neighborhood, itís one that can be started by any community that wants to document its history. (And in the Lowcountry, thereís no absence of historic moments!)
All it takes is one community group, like a garden club, or book club, that wants to gather the materials, and then donate them to a local library for posterity.
Finally, I love the fact that all three of these ideas are driven by volunteers ó people who make time to give back to the community. Together we can all make Charleston a better place to live in 2013.
Reach Stephanie Harvin at 937-5557 or firstname.lastname@example.org.