By Mary Jo Viero
BAPA Executive Director
I have always loved this neighborhood. As a child I loved living on Vanderpoel and walking to school. I loved my first apartment on 111th Street. I loved taking the train downtown to my first real job. I loved moving back to the neighborhood with my husband to raise a family.
Each different stage in my life showed me different aspects of what makes this community special.
My memories are probably similar to many of your memories. Being a little kid at a block party and having the firemen stop by with their big red fire truck for us to climb on. Sledding down the hill at Ridge Park. In my early 20s, it was going to the South Side Irish Parade and having some fun on Western.
Moving back to the neighborhood as an adult, I was blessed with incredible neighbors on my block of Bell. They were kind, funny and welcoming. One of my neighbors invited a large group of women to her home for coffee to welcome me. She told me, “These are women you can count on whenever you need.” When we had our son, the outpouring of kindness was incredible, from teenagers offering to babysit to gifts at our door.
These are all examples of the love that is the lifeblood of our neighborhood. These things happen every day, whether it is on Bell or Talman or Wood or Pleasant.
Now in this incredible time in history, we see more and more examples of this love. We see love for our first responders and medical professionals, love for our small businesses, love for our seniors and love for each other. We are doing what we do best: neighbors helping neighbors. I can’t think of a better place to be right now.
Now more than ever, I Love Where I Live!
As we enter the month of April with more uncertainty ahead, we need to continue with what we do best. There are gift cards to buy, meals to deliver, fundraisers to donate to, neighbors to check on, resources and information to share.
We also need to stay at home and do our best to flatten the curve.
Even though our plans are on hold, BAPA is still here and we are doing our best to support you. If you need help, call; if you have an idea, call; if you want us to share some news, call.
BAPA is here for you.