Tuesday, 28 April 2015

12 Ways to a Better Saint John.

This topic cannot escape my mind lately. How do we make our city better, faster. I feel like as Saint Johners (and New Brunswickers) we are always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Well I am tired of waiting for someone to come along and make it better for me. 

SO. I am here today with 12 ways YOU can make Saint John better, right now for little to no cash beyond normal living expenses. 

1. Go outside. Seriously. Use our parks, trails and use our long winters as a chance to explore parts of Rockwood and Irving Nature Park that are left untouched. Start a unique sea glass or driftwood collection. Bring something home that is 'Saint John' as a reminder.

2. Take a drive. Bring along a dice labeled left, right and straight. Get lost in an area of the city you've never been to. See where each roll of the dice takes you. You'll get to know the ins and outs of the city & I bet you find some place you've never laid eyes on before that you can boast about later.

3.Talk to a stranger NEIGHBOUR. Our community is divided on so many issues. Why not engage with someone you've never met and start to build a larger community fabric despite our differences?

4. Frequent locally owned businesses. YES, often times local spots are a bit pricier but a lot of them are on even par. A Java Moose coffee clocks in around the same price as a Timmy's. Every little bit helps and will get you focused on helping people who give back to the community by building their businesses here. 

5. Volunteer an hour a month. Even if it is offering to sit and chat with a less fortunate person in the park to hear their story. Every little bit of good energy makes a difference. 

6. Clean up your street. Grab a bag & maybe your kiddos and head outside for some DIY neighbourhood beautification. Instead of complaining about the state of the streets and each other's supposed roll in making it that way, lets just move on and each make our little corner of SJ gorgeous again. 

7. Attend public events. Having organized free events for the public, I can tell you just how difficult it is to get people to actually show. Whether or not it's a highly organized event or a free community BBQ, JUST GO. Seek out these events. Having more bodies out experiencing everything will only help these types of events grow bigger and better. 

7. Don't scoff at slow tourists. Seriously, why not ask if they need a hand or point them toward your favorite SJ landmark. A bad experience is spread 20 fold and a good one much less so. So always make a point to be helpful and be proud of what we have to offer. 

8. Share SJ Positive things on social media. Too often we use the internet as a soapbox on which to scream from. (Take this post for example ha!) There are some gorgeous sites dedicated to our beautiful people and area. This, this, this and this for example. 

9. If you want to complain, have a solution or an action plan. Often times we think we we know everything about all things. Take potholes for example. I don't pretend to understand the beating our roads took this winter nor am I an engineer charged with fixing this whole place. It is useless to waste time complaining about things I can't personally fix or know anything about. However, if you want to organize and head to council with your concerns, by all means! Either use your energy and expertise on something you do know about or use the proper channels to protest.

10. Build up the doers.  We are all strapped for time. If you don't have much to give, make sure you shoot a Facebook message or tweet to someone to say, 'Nice One Buddy'. It really will make a world of difference to someone who feels like they are working against the tide all the time. 

11. Get to know Saint John. Seriously, there are free walking tours, info kiosks and an insane free public library. The more you know about the history the place, the more you will love it, I promise you. For a laugh, go back and check out the Times Globe from the 1900s or simply have a conversation with the illustrious David Goss. We have incredible stories and legends attached to this place. 

12. Be Yourself. There is nothing more 'Saint John' than the people in it. Ignore the voice in your head saying we are 'downtrodden', 'poor' and 'unlucky'. You know that isn't true or you wouldn't be here. We are a bunch of tough cookies you guys. Most people in the world couldn't live here but we do anyway. 

Our strong spirit is going to be NECESSARY if we want to build ourselves up again. The blows we are experiencing now by way of daycare fund decreases, tuition rebates, senior care cuts are extreme and painful. It is time to put our heads down and AS A COMMUNITY figure our way out. No more relying on anyone else but ourselves. #CommunitySJ


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