when one person steps up... good things happen
What does it take to make a neighborhood
a healthier place to live?
Sometimes it just takes one person to step up and inspire an entire community.
That was the case when Wayne Sawyer saw photographs of the Healthy Communities Neighborhood in East Ocean View. As the President of Bennett’s Creek Nursery in Suffolk, Wayne understands the importance of plants and greenery in making a more vibrant community. “Some of those streets could use some greening up,” he suggested and donated 1,000 bushes to get the job done. He was one person who decided to step up and, in so doing, planted a seed of community spirit that took root and spread across the area.
“It seemed that as soon as the bushes were donated, other people and organizations wanted to pitch in,” said Executive Director Steve Zollos, Bon Secours Healthy Communities. “It was just what this community needed to get it on track. People could rally around this project and see an immediate impact.”
Organizations stepped up to the shovel and dug in to do the planting, which included azalea, juniper, spirea, barberry, and holly bushes. “It was fantastic to see so many people helping with this project. It brought a real unity to our neighborhood right from the start,” according to the East Ocean View Civic League President, Bill Eason. Organizations teamed up with the Civic League to get the job done including: the Boys Scouts, Habitat for Humanity, the military, DAMCO Freight Forwarding, Senior Living Guide, The Virginia Tech Cooperative Extension’s Master Gardeners of Norfolk, New Life Christian Center, Bon Secours DePaul Medical Center, Mary Immaculate Hospital, and Bon SecoursMaryview Medical Center.
Soon the bushes were planted, the neighborhood looked healthier, and community spirit was soaring. Residents stepped up to support the beautification project as well. When neighbors noticed some of the new bushes were floundering at one local church, they offered to water them.“The church does so much for our community, I’ll be glad to water the bushes for them if they need the help,” said one local resident. In addition to help from the residents, the Master Gardeners came to care for them as well. Now, thanks to the community spirit, they are all thriving in their new green environment.
“It all began with one person’s generous act,” Steve Zollos said. “One person had something to give and did what he could. As a result others stepped up, and before we knew it, an entire community was a little bit healthier.”
Anyone can help others – even you. That’s right, you have what it takes to help build a healthy community and you don’t have to change, go to a seminar, receive training, or get a degree. You just need to step up anddo what you can.
Folks from all walks of life share a desire to help. Just look at all the folks who are helping already. You can see them in some photos on this page of SeniorHealth Magazine. They are seniors, children, boy scouts, girl scouts, pastors, nurses, business groups, military people and civilians. Some are gardening, planting bushes, and showing people how to garden. Some are mentoring children, distributing school supplies, coaching sports teams and teaching children how to fish. Others are taking blood pressure readings, distributing food to the hungry and raising money. Several are helping with paperwork and answering phones. What do they all have in common? A willingness to make this world a better place.