Get your Civic Good on!

Sustainable Danville Area Tip of the Month – July 2013

By Cynthia Ruzzi, President Sustainable Danville Area

We’ve all heard the term “politically correct” – as in “that’s not PC”, meaning the referred remark discriminates against a particular group.  In our educated, multicultural community one would hope others would not have to be reminded to be fair, equal and kind to their neighbors.  However, it does seem that political fractions of our country often divide instead of unify our communities.  As we prepare to celebrate the 237th birthday of the United States, let’s forget politics and demonstrate our civic good.

What’s Civic Good or “CG”?  CG is a welcomed acknowledgement of any activity that’s performed to benefit a town, city or local area where you live or work.  It benefits you and your neighbors by improving the community, and along the way turns neighbors into friends.

We are tremendously lucky to live in an area where individuals and groups are focused on non-partisan ways to enjoy and preserve our community.  Whether it’s the Kiwanis Club of San Ramon Valley hosting the Danville 4th of July Parade since 1975 or the elementary school students that collected bottles at last year’s event to raise funds for hurt or injured soldiers;  there’s always a local way to be a Civic Hero.   The parade is the largest single Bay Area event celebrating our nation and draws over 30,000 people each year.  Many locals know that parking for the parade is a nightmare – so it’s a perfect occasion to dust off your bicycle and ride to the event.  This year the San Ramon Valley Varsity Football team will host a free bike corral at 675 Hartz Avenue in the Balford Building parking lot next to Country Waffle.  The bike corral works similar to a coat check – participants check their bike in and retrieve it at the end of the parade (hours 8am-12pm).  Perhaps you’re already familiar with our portable bike racks (thank you Monte Vista Mountain Bike Club for hosting them at the Danville Art Faire) and are looking forward to using them again…look for them at Downtown Danville Summer night festivals on July 11th and August 8th and at the Danville Fall Crafts Festival in October.

You probably have seen the barrels at grocery stores at Thanksgiving and Christmas to collect food for the needy, but there are folks in our community that are hungry year-round.   Recently, it was brought to my attention that we have senior citizens trying to exist on $300 per month – and that’s not their food budget.  The Foodbank of Contra Costa and Solano County works to alleviate hunger for over 132,000 people in our county each week – and over 25% of these are children.  Locally volunteers for The Bounty Garden (www.thebountygarden.org) and The Urban Farmers (www.theurbanfarmers.org) grow fresh vegetables and collect backyard fruit to help those in need – including within our own community.  Both these groups are always interested in new volunteers, but you can be a Civic Hero by donating extra vegetable seeds from backyard planting or telling a neighbor with abundant fruit about how to register their tree.

Local opportunities abound!  Friends of San Ramon Creek invite anyone interested in learning more about the creek and the local watershed to help protect the riparian habitat of the San Ramon Creek.  (Please contact Mary Grim at mary.grim@ca.nacdnet.net for more information about events and work days).

Local government wants you to be a Civic Hero too. Yes, we all pay our taxes to live in a well-cared for community.  But who says that you can’t help take care of it? You can register as a volunteer for an event or a service project online with the Town of Danville (http://www.ci.danville.ca.us/Council_and_Government/Employment/Volunteer_Opportunities/) and in Alamo – The Alamo Improvement Association (http://www.alamoca.org/about.htm) has been working since 1955 to preserve and foster the established character and quality of their town.

It doesn’t take much to be a Civic Hero.  As you go about your community you might notice a street light out or a missing or defaced street sign.  Most cities welcome the ‘heads-up’ and starting this month, Danville residents will be able to use a mobile phone app to quickly and easily submit inquires or requests using a smart phone or tablet.  Demonstrate your ‘CG’ and use your phone to submit a picture of the issue – the app will automatically route the request to the appropriate department to be addressed.

Reprinted with permission from Danville Today News

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