By Mary Jo Viero
BAPA Executive Director
Happy spring everyone!
Last year in April I wrote about the loss of trees in our neighborhood and what an important part of our community they are. I’m so happy I wrote that column because it ignited a passion for trees that resulted in community meetings and ACTION that ultimately resulted in 500 trees being planted last year! I could cry just thinking about that. Thank you all for putting your passion into action.
This year is not much different. Spring is a great time to look at our environment and see what we can do to take care of it. Yes, planting more trees is certainly on the agenda but there are lots of other ways we can show our love for the Earth. Everyone has different ways and I applaud all of you. Maybe you plant native plants or pollinators in your gardens, choose only organic, compost and recycle, eat less meat, or choose an all-plant-based diet. Those are all fantastic ways to help.
For me personally, I have been obsessed with trying to reduce the amount of plastic in my everyday activities. It is not easy or convenient but the swaps I have made were simple, cost-effective, and good for the environment. We will be sharing lots of ideas on our Instagram and Facebook this month for inspiration. The best part is that you can purchase all of these right here in the neighborhood! Two of my favorite places for eco-friendly products are Everything’s Relative Salon and Southtown Health foods. Purchasing environmentally friendly products from a local small business is a win-win!
April is also a time to start planning your summer activities. BAPA has several major events happening in April, May, June, and July. I am going to ask a huge favor! PLEASE CONSIDER VOLUNTEERING at one or more of our events. Each year, BAPA relies on over 700 volunteers to help us put on our annual Clean and Green, Home Tour, Ridge Run, and Garden Walk. Every one of our volunteers is taking time to give back to our community and we couldn’t be more grateful. And volunteering is a lot of fun. Especially when you sign up with friends or family members.
First up is the annual Clean and Green on Earth Day, Apr. 22. You can pick a spot in the neighborhood, put on some work gloves, and clean it up! It is so satisfying to see our neighborhood clear of winter debris and trash. Just call us at 773-233-3100 and let us know where you will be. You can pick up a volunteer shirt, bags, and rakes, the day before.
Second is our annual Home Tour on May 21. It showcases five incredible private homes and architecture throughout the community. But it also takes over 100 volunteers to serve as house hosts and helpers. If you and a group of friends already go on the Home Tour, you could volunteer as a group for one shift and get FREE admission to see the Home Tour on the other shift. The Garden Walk on July 9 works essentially the same way as the Home Tour.
The Ridge Run on May 29 is ripe with volunteering opportunities. We need help with set up and break down, packet pick-up, water stations, course marshals, and registration. We also need helpers to assist with unit line up for the Memorial Day Parade that follows the Ridge Run.
If you are looking for ways to give back to your community, we can help! Go to bapa.org and click on Become a Volunteer.
All my best,