From the Desk of the Main Street Program Director
Take your neighborly love up a notch
by Rae Gosling, Grayling Main Street Program Director
As you may recall last week I began a three-part series about what the holiday season brings to mind for me. Naturally, the first part was shopping local. This week I will to speak to being neighborly. This goes beyond just your literal neighbors, it can extend into our community, our region, and our world as a whole.
This time of year, we tend to hear a higher than usual frequency of stories and songs about kindness and lending a hand. I, personally, tear up every single time the song about the kid buying shoes comes on. This happens for more than just the heartbreak of a child losing their parent, this happens because it is a beautiful example of the essences of being human. We all hurt, we all suffer, we all experience struggle and stress. Conversely, we all know joy, we all know love, we have all experienced happiness. That song, and the hundreds of songs and stories just like it, remind me that being human is about believing the fantasies, non-tangible concepts, that exist in our reality. “Stuff,” is not all that matters.
I can hear some of you already, “cute story Rae, very heartwarming, how does this relate to downtown?”
Downtowns are places people want to be, and it is because of more than just the physical space. A huge part of economic and community development is what is referred to as placemaking. Placemaking includes creating an inviting and safe culture in a space, or place, that meets the needs and desires of the users. It means sustaining the belief that this physical space is valuable from more than just a monetary perspective.
Being neighborly, contributes to placemaking. Holding a door open for a shopper with a full armload of bags, saying good afternoon or smiling to the person passing by on the street, and putting your trash in the receptacle instead of on the ground, are all neighborly things to do. If you are going to be home during that day, maybe offer to watch for packages and put them at a back door or bring them in to avoid theft. I am a personal fan of plates of treats from my excellent neighbors. Those are easy, painless, and mostly free ways you can contribute to the culture of our place, Grayling.
With a growing economy, the possibility of a population boost, and the reality of rotating residents, it is more important than ever to put our best foot forward. We are what makes Grayling a great place to live, work, and play.
During this giving season, you can take your neighborly love up a notch by contributing to one of the several local organizations that serve underprivileged residents on our community. They are our neighbors. I recommend contacting the Department of Health and Human Services when seeking out ways to give. Other options include River House, the Commission on Aging, and Toys for Tots. I hope you will find a program, or cause that is close to you heart, and help us build a reputation as a community that cares, and takes care of our neighbors.
Want to know more about GMSt and what is going on in Downtown Grayling? Check back in future editions of the Avalanche for more From the Main Street Director’s Desk. You can also check out our website, www.DowntownGrayling. com, find us on Facebook, or email your questions to DowntownGrayling @gmail.com.
Rae Gosling is the Program Director for Grayling Main Street. She has been with GMSt since April 2016. She is a Grayling resident, wife, mother, local shopper, avid supporter of all things Grayling, and keeps everyone on their toes wondering what color her hair will be next.