By Joan Hadac
Editor and Publisher
Southwest Chicago Post
As you may recall from the story we posted back on May 9, the Garfield Ridge Neighborhood Watch (GRNW) organization has expanded beyond its original crime prevention work to include assisting neighbors in need.
In the video that accompanied the story, GRNW members were attempting to contact a local homeowner whose severely dilapidated back fence was in need of demolition and rebuilding. Several neighbors had complained to the alderman's office about the situation; but rather than see the elderly homeowner slapped with citations and fines, GRNW members stepped in with a positive approach---an offer to assist her with donated materials and labor.
Weeks later, the GRNW succeeded in reaching the homeowner. After introductions and an explanation, GRNW members overcame her initial wariness---and that's certainly understandable, because it's not every day in Chicago when nice neighbors show up at your door and in good faith offer to repair your home for free. Really folks, that kind of thing occasionally happens in Amish country; but in Chicago, a big gritty city on the make?
Well, believe it, because that's exactly what's happening in Garfield Ridge these days, where the GRNW has just launched its "Good Neighbor Program"---an effort to fight crime indirectly by helping neighbors in need and promoting a sense of caring, cohesiveness and common good.
And Sunday evening, the GRNW put its words into action. A half dozen unpaid volunteers---six of the very best people you'll find in Garfield Ridge or anywhere in Chicago---showed up to remove the fence and other rotted materials attached to the carport, trim overgrown weeds and ready the debris for hauling away by Streets and San.
They'll be back in the days ahead to rebuild the fence. We plan to be there to capture it on photo and video, and report it back to you.
In the meantime, if you live in Garfield Ridge, please consider joining the GRNW and doing your part to make the neighborhood a safer and better place for all. Contact them their via their website: www.garfieldridgenw.com and attend their next public event, a two-part crime prevention seminar set for 7:00 p.m. Monday, August 20 at the Kennedy High School auditorium. One part will feature ex-burglars offering tips on burglary prevention; the other will focus on drug and alcohol abuse prevention for teenagers. High school students in need of "community service" hours for school may receive up to four hours' credit for attending the event.
If you live elsewhere on the Southwest Side, join your local civic or crime prevention group and help start a similar "good neighbor" initiative. Let's make all our neighborhoods places where we not only watch out for each other, but reach out to help each other.
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