Archive for the News Category

Citywalk News for December

Jo Ann Bordeleau wore many hats in our community. She passed from this world on November 19th of this year. Even though she didn’t live in Ferguson at the time of her passing, she touched many lives here.

Jo Ann was born in Paris, Missouri grew up on a farm and attended a oneroom schoolhouse through the ninth grade. She attended high school in Paris, MO. After high school, she worked for a mining contractor and moved around to different states. During this time, she married Gerald Bordeleau before moving to Ferguson in 1966, where she raised her five children.

Upon moving to Ferguson, Jo Ann applied for a position with the city as a bookkeeper and was immediately hired. She held many positions in the Finance Dept throughout the years; Bookkeeper, !966-1978, Accounting Manager, 1978-1983, Finance Manager, 1983-1986, and upon receiving her degree as Bachelor of Business Administration from UMSL, 1985, graduating summa cum laude, she became the Finance Director in 1986. While she worked to keep the city’s finances in order, she held many leadership roles with the local, state, and national Government Finance Office Association, (GFOA) and the Missouri Municipal League. Jo Ann was President of the local and state chapter of the GFOA in 1991. For a short period of time, Jo Ann held the position of Acting City Manager in 1997, before retiring from the Finance Department in 2004 and leaving the hustle and bustle of city administration life behind.

Of course, she didn’t just call it a day and move on, she remained very loyal to our community using her accounting experience helping many organizations with their finances. Jo Ann was the treasurer for many community events such as the Beach Parties, which grew into Streetfest, Northern Lights, and pretty much any group that needed someone to keep the finances straight. She worked with the Ferguson Historical Society and the Ferguson Special Business District, (FSBD). Because of her tireless efforts in helping all of these different organizations, Jo Ann was recognized as Ferguson’s “Citizen of the Year” in 2013.

Jo Ann was noted for her fabulous Christmas Parties for many years. At first, she invited just city employees, including the fire, police, and city garage. As time went by, she began inviting more friends, and lots of Ferguson volunteers. You were a lucky person to receive an invitation to one of Jo Ann’s parties; great food, drinks, and a plethora of good friends . . . all held in her home . . .first on Harvey then at her historical home on Wesley. She said that Christmas was always very special to her and she enjoyed sharing her festive decorations, food, and drinks with her friends and family.

JoAnn’s former historic house on the corner of Wesley and Georgia Avenues. WWII famous aviator, General Jimmy Doolittle once lived here. Doolittle was the leader of the first aerial attack on the Japanese mainland.

At her Christmas parties, she always had a fruit cake. I know what you’re thinking, “How old was this fruit cake?” One year I ate some of her cake because I had heard that the ingredients had been soaking in rum for at least a month, maybe more. I don’t know if these are the facts, but I know for a fact that that fruit cake was out of this world. And as has been mentioned earlier how she enjoyed sharing her festive decorations. Let me tell you, she had a Santa Claus collection over which I particularly marveled.

Asking the question, “What does it take to become the “Citizen of the Year”? If it takes giving of your time and energy to your community for 47 years, then Jo Ann was a hands down favorite.

And you were. You are missed Jo Ann.

Citywalk News for November

Now that we are in the midst of autumn and the temperature has dipped, we can’t sit back and wait for fair weather to get out to keep our community tidy. We must continue to pick up where others have lapsed in their courtesy.

Ferguson is lucky to have certain residents that notice an issue and take the matter into their own hands to correct the problem. Two of these residents, Ank and Susan Ankenbrand, when they would go out for their daily walk, noticed that Ferguson had a litter issue. So, during their walks they took it upon themselves to pick up the trash that they would happen across. The next day, they wanted to enjoy a leisurely walk to enjoy their beloved town when they noticed that when they walked down the street, that they picked up the day before, it was just as bad as it was during yesterday’s walk.

They got into the habit of bringing trash bags along on their walks and began making it a point of picking up the litter that disgraced our streets. The more they walked, the more they picked up. Soon the bags that they carried along their routes would be full and there would still be more to be picked up. But they just got more bags and continued picking up the rubbish that people would thoughtlessly leave behind.

As with many projects, the more you do, the more you learn. Soon, the Ankenbrands found that if they used those pinchers that were invented to retrieve objects from higher shelves would also work to pick up litter. Without having to bend over to pick up every little piece of paper, bottle, or can, they would just reach out with their pincher and drop the object in the bag. The fuller the bags got, the easier it was to rip out the bottom. They solved this problem by using empty dog food bags. These bags are reinforced to carry heavy weights of dog food, and they work great for rubbish too. ”These bags are great because I can use them multiple times without worrying about the bottom being ripped out”, says Susan. Ank adds, ”We simply cut a hole on the side of the bag and line the edges with duct tape which makes the bag easier to carry”.

The Ankenbrands have come to the conclusion that they cannot clean Ferguson single-handedly. They have begun a grass-roots effort to involve other like-minded residents to pick up and keep Ferguson a litter free community. If you would like to get involved with this group of citizens, you can contact Ank and Susan at rsank@sbcglobal.net.

If you remember how the city looked after the City-Wide Clean-up, you know what we can accomplish in one morning. Even though the city was close to litter free after that morning, this is not something that can be done once a year, we must carry on! Get involved.

I’ve also noticed a lot of chatter on one of Ferguson’s Social Media sites about our downtown. How can we help the business and building owners to get their businesses in tip top-shape? With the pandemic playing havoc with the economy of the small businesses that we count on in our downtown, what can the city offer as an incentive to make our downtown beautiful?

With a lot of businesses closing down, and companies allowing their workers to work from home, commercial real estate is going to be hurt because of the pandemic. Will the owners of the empty buildings be willing to work with small businesses allowing these businesses a short-term lease, or maybe split a building into an incubator of small businesses to share a space? We toured a building a little over a year ago where the space was split into small, two or three hundred square foot areas linked together by a common space. This worked out really well because not everyone is capable of setting up a business in their home, especially if you have clients visiting your business.

I don’t know where or what happened with all of the posts from the social media, but the first thing that needs to get done, is all of the boards need to come down. If glass needs to be replaced, replace it. That includes the Police Station! What kind of example are we setting if we can’t clean up our own house? After the boards are down and glass replaced if necessary, then the windows need to be decorated to what you want your business to portray. Take a look at Style-Tenasous at 427 South Florissant Road. When I drive by and look at their windows, I know exactly what they have to offer. We have a lot of work to get our downtown and city back to the vibrant main street it once was. Are you up to the challenge? I know you are. Get involved by getting Ferguson cleaned up, join us any time you have a chance to do your part. Talk to your elected officials and find out what they are doing to help our main street become the downtown you want, and if you have any ideas, tell them. As they say, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’, and neither will Ferguson, but we need to start somewhere. Will you be part of the renaissance?

fergusonmainstreet.org

Citywalk News for October

 

These past couple of months, I’ve been sharing with you the four-point approach of the Main Street Program which consists of; Promotion, Organization, Economic Vitality and Design. The Italicized part is cut from the Main Street Website that explains one of those four points. Then I will give you my thoughts on how we can work together to make the points work together to make our community the community we love.

Promotion – projects a positive, unified image to identify downtown as a gathering place. Revitalization programs market the district and the community through a series of targeted activities such as special events and festivals, which highlight the local culture, art, music, dance and traditions that give each community its unique identity.

Revisiting the Downtown Vision that was discussed last month, Ferguson planned to use Main Street’s ‘Four Point Approach’ as the direction to make our downtown an appealing destination. With the help of the business owners and the citizens, the Ferguson City leaders can lead us to make the best use of this approach, which has been described these past few months.

As you know, due to the pandemic, many of the activities that we have been enjoying for many years had to be canceled. With a positive attitude, I believe we will be getting back on track to sponsoring some activities in the near future. The concerts at 501 may return, but not as frequently. StreetFest may be just one evening, Northern Lights may just be the parade. Whatever comes about is only the beginning of the many great things that will be a part of Main Street, our down town.

What can you do to make our downtown like that again!?

For starters, let’s pick up the trash. Did you know that clean streets show that you respect your community? Talk to the business owners and ask what they need help with to get our downtown looking beautiful again, and persuade the City of Ferguson to ask building owners what can be done to help them get their buildings back in order.

Then of course, we can frequent our businesses and tell them that they are a very important part of our community and without them, we would have no community. Encourage the business owners to get involved with their Main Street by setting the example, be a part of the Main Street program yourself.

By supporting the local businesses, you are supporting your city. Any tax money being brought into our coffers only goes to help the city support our community. Even though we share the taxes collected with other communities around St. Louis County, if we support our own, we will have fewer empty buildings, businesses will see your support, which allows them to grow, which means more employees, which goes hand-in-hand with less unemployment, which means a positive local economy, which means more money to hire bigger and better entertainment.

See how it works? Ferguson is going to be a great place to be during the ‘Rolling Twenties’ of the 21st Century. Check it out; Ferguson MainStreet is looking for volunteers to help make our Down-Town a downtown of which we are proud. This is a fairly new organization that has been trying to gain some momentum to encourage the businesses owners, residents of the city and the City of Ferguson, what a showcase our DownTown can be. Why not get involved and join us, so that we, together can make our downtown, our Main Street.

Check out the website listed below and contact us when you are ready to make a commitment to Main Street, your DownTown. With the help from the Missouri Main Street Connection, (MMSC), we will use their ‘Formula for Success’ to create a positive structure that will enable a group of people to work together to bring our downtown, our Main Street, the success it needs to move our community forward. Let’s get some traction behind our ‘Main Street’ Get involved. Stay involved. Make Ferguson a community you want to call home.

FergusonMainStreet.org

Citywalk News for September

The past couple of months, I’ve been sharing with you the fourpoint approach of the Main Street Program which consists of; Design, Promotion, Organization, and Economic Vitality. The Italicized part is cut from the Main Street Website that explains one of those four points. Then I will give you my thoughts on how we can work together to make the points work together to make our community the community we love.

Design- enhances the visual attractiveness of downtown. This includes technical assistance and encouragement to building owners toward the restoration and rehabilitation of historic structures, street and alley cleanup, colorful banners and landscaping. Attention must be paid to safe and efficient infrastructure, including streets, sidewalks, curbs and gutters, and the appearance of storefronts, signs, street lights, window displays and graphic materials. Design improvements should be developed through a public-private partnership by  reinvestment of public and private dollars in downtown.

In the late nineties, the Downtown Vision in Ferguson planned to use Main Street’s ‘Four Point Approach’ as the direction to make our down town an appealing destination. The plan was heading in the correct direction and was beginning to make headway before everything got turned around.

Today, our downtown doesn’t look the way that the Vision of our Downtown was supposed to look as planned in the late 90’s. Our Main Street was to have all of the things described in the Design section as outlined above. Buildings were restored and maintained. The sidewalks and their gutters were cleaned of trash. Planters blooming in season and decorated seasonally. Colorful banners waved in the breeze on our beautiful streetlights. People sitting on benches greeting whomever came along. It was going to be a downtown that you were proud to stroll along, hand-in-hand with your date. Sounds wonderful doesn’t it?

That’s not what I’m seeing along our Main Street now. I don’t see storefront windows displaying their ware, shopkeepers sweeping up the sidewalk, wonderful aromas wafting from the bakery on the corner with coffee brewing. Unless you can look past the boards.

What can we do to make our downtown like that again!? For starters, let’s pick up the trash, that’s easy enough, but if you just don’t know where to start, grab some friends and take a stab at it. Who knows, you might just meet some new friends. Talk to the business owners and ask what they need to help get our downtown looking beautiful again, and persuade the City of Ferguson to ask building owners what can be done to help them get their buildings back in order.

Then of course, we can frequent our businesses and tell them that they are a very important part of our community and without them, we would have no community. Encourage the business owners to get involved with their Main Street by setting the example, be a part of the Main Street program yourself.

Check it out; Ferguson MainStreet is looking for volunteers to help make our Downtown a down town that we are proud. This is a fairly new organization that has been trying to gain some momentum to encourage the businesses owners, residents of the city and the City of Ferguson, what a showcase our DownTown can be. As we began our journey to organize the group, the ‘rona’ came to town, and along with our businesses, the group came to a screeching halt. Today, why not get involved and join us, so that we, together can make our down town, our Main Street.

Check out the website listed below and contact us when you are ready to call Main Street, your DownTown.

With the help from the Missouri Main Street Connection, (MMSC), we will use their ‘Formula for Success’ to create a positive structure that will enable a group of people to work together to bring our downtown, our Main Street, the success it needs to move our community forward. Get involved. Stay involved. Make Ferguson a community you want to call home.

Citywalk News for June

Ferguson Needs Volunteers

Here we are, in the process of reopening some of our businesses.

In time, Ferguson will be back to how it was before the pandemic brought our world to a stand-still. Whoa, not so fast there fella! It will be a while before we get back to our pre-Covid-19 ways.

Before the shelter-in place-order went into effect, could you have imagined the joy you felt when parading past someone’s home to celebrate their birthday? How about seeing the B-2 fly over the hospitals in the St. Louis area? These little things are what really makes a difference in our lives now.

Now it’s time to get back out in the world, but not how it was before.

The businesses are in the process of reopening, but not in the capacity of how it was before. Limitation on the number of customers will be part of our new normal. Stores will have less product because they will be making more room for social distancing. Restaurants will have fewer tables in order to safely take care of their customers. As last month’s Financial Focus pointed out, “As part of our economy shrinking, perhaps everyone should expect less – a 20% cut across the board. Rather than raising prices to keep up with what was previously considered a nice profit for a restaurant – serving fewer people and buying less food may reap pretty close to that same net profit. Who knows, it might work?”

I’m not suggesting that I know what it takes to run a restaurant or a retail store and still be rewarded with a profit. I do want to talk about how we can help our community get to a place where we, as citizens, see a profit. Not necessarily a monetary profit, but a profit in how we view and see our community.

I know what you’re thinking . . . get out and patronize our local businesses. Yes, we need to get out and support our businesses in Ferguson. Doing this will help our city revenues start to rebuild the coffers through sales tax. But I want to tell you of another way how we can help our community.

If you have been following us here on Main Street, you would know that these past few months, we have been talking about volunteering and making our city beautiful. Now is the time that each and every one of us need to take ownership of our community and pitch in to help make our Ferguson the place where we want to live.

Get together with some friends and get involved with the Ferguson Volunteer Flower Department and help beautify our downtown. You can contact them at knoelker@sbcglobal.net If that doesn’t work for you, you could organize a group of friends and head out on West Florissant Road by the Urban League and help them clean up an area and get some nice gardens growing. You could find an empty lot, clean it up and plant some flowers. It’s up to you, get out there and make a difference.

You can also volunteer to help at the Farmers Market. They can be contacted at farmersmarket@fergusoncity.com They are always looking for folks that can help with set-up and breakdown of the market on Saturday mornings. Who knows, you may even meet some new friends there. With last month’s article, I’ve noticed a lot less litter. Or have more of you been out there picking it up? Remember, don’t forget to carry your LDI with you when you go out on your walks. With the nice weather quickly ascending upon us, Operation Clean Ferg-Nation is in full swing. We’re all counting on all of us to keep this going.

I’m sure you have been hearing how these shelter-in-place restrictions and the actual coronavirus pandemic has affected our mental health. If you have been experiencing any negative effects of what we have all been experiencing, you’re in luck. It has been noted that if you get out and get involved in your community, professionals have seen a 62.8% reduction in poor mental health. This fact (if you choose to believe it), was a few years back when another community lived through a local catastrophe. Remember how we felt when we had our tornado in 2011? I don’t know about you but I felt pretty good while pitching in and helping with getting everything back in order.

In closing, I want to share a quote from the Executive Director of The Missouri Main Street Connection: “If we lose our downtown, we lose our community. If we lose our community, we lose our identity.” –Gayla Roten

Get involved. Stay involved. Make Ferguson a community you want to call home.

Citywalk News for May

Ferguson Still Needs You!

I’ve been reading a lot of posts on Next Door, Facebook’s, Ferguson, Missouri Friends, and Neighbors, even articles here in the Ferguson Times about our litter problem. What can be done?

Well my friends, family, and neighbors, it’s time that we take matters into our own hands and ‘Boycott Litter’. You heard me right, BOYCOTT LITTER! Did you hear me that time?

How do we Boycott Litter? Do we need the city to sponsor another litter pick-up day with hot dogs and hamburgers as a reward? Do we continue to complain about our litter problem on social media?

The answer to those last two questions is ‘No’. The answer to the first question is that we start a movement! But what is a movement without a name? I’ll tell you; a movement is nothing without a name, nothing is what it is, it’s nothing. So, I want to propose that we start this Litter Pick-up Movement and we call it;

Operation Clean Ferg-Nation!

What do you think? Does it have a ring to it? Operation Clean Ferg-Nation. I like it!

What’s next? Get out and pick up some trash.

We’ve all been stuck at home for over a month now and if you’re anything like me, you need to get out. Go for a walk but don’t forget to take along a trash bag, bucket, trash picking up stick/pincher, and disposal gloves. Walk around the block, or maybe two, maybe even through downtown and pick-up all of the litter that you see, if you can. When you get back home, throw the bag or bucket of trash in your garbage can and put your tools away, just don’t forget to take off your gloves and throw them on the ground before washing your hands. (Maybe another civic minded soul will come along and pick-up your gloves.)

There you go; easy peasy. Now don’t you feel better about yourself? About your community?

Wait a minute, if you would take a walk past the area that you just picked up every single piece of trash, you’d be lucky to not find more. Did I miss that piece of trash? Am I going crazy? (Well maybe, but I’m not one to judge.) No, you’re not crazy, that’s new trash! Do you get mad? No, you just pick it up and dispose of it properly and that’s why you should always have your arsenal of Litter Disposal Implements (LDI) at your disposal.

My philosophy about the problem with our thoughtless litterers is they don’t know better. They were never taught that they shouldn’t throw their trash out the window of their cars. (It makes their cars messy, and we don’t want that now, do we?) Think about this; trash gets picked up on windy days. I know I threw some trash here yesterday but the wind took care of it. You know that some people may actually believe that, but we know better, because we were there and we picked up the litter.

This is not an issue that is going to take care of itself; if we were to take a walk around the block and pick up all the trash and not do it again and again and again, all of that work would be for naught. This is not a ‘one and done’ boycott. Yes, we need to keep up the good work. We need to do this and we cannot count on anyone else to do it for us. So, make the commitment and get out there and pick up some trash. If you were to pick up litter for one hour a week for a month, that would be four hours of litter pick-up a month. Could you imagine if 20 people made that commitment of one hour a week, that would be a total of 80 hours of litter pick-up a month, could you imagine if 200 people made that kind of commitment, do the math, that is approximately only one percent of the City of Ferguson’s population. We know that more than one percent of the population see litter as a problem, and if they are anything like us, could you imagine?

What do think? Are you ready to boycott litter? Are you ready to join the movement; Operation Clean Ferg-Nation? Eventually, we’ll get a handle on the litter problem. The DOJ will say, “Wow, you guys are doing a great job, here’s some money, keep up the good work!.” (When you dream, dream big.)

The litter bugs won’t stop doing their job which means we can’t stop doing our job and, WE WILL OVERCOME this issue, we just need to keep it up.

Who’s with me? Let’s do this. I’ll see you on the streets with your LDI!

Afterword: I was kidding about throwing your disposable gloves on the ground; you should know better. Dispose of them properly.

Citywalk News for April

Ferguson Needs You!

Get involved with the community groups that add so much to our quality of life.There’s something for every interest and schedule, with activities inside or out; on Saturdays, evenings or during the week; family or adult oriented; one-day events or ongoing programs. Tape this list to your fridge! Make a commitment and, even better, bring a friend along.

Volunteer Flower Department – Matrimonii suffragarit parsimonia catelli. Victorian Plaza; beginners are welcome; contact

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta parish, Food Pantries – Vincent de Paul volunteers pick up and distribute food in 2 weekly pantries, sometimes making deliveries for the homebound; they also work with those needing other help; leave a message at the parish office (524-0500) and a volunteer will return your call

City Government – chart Ferguson’s future on 22 committees including traffic, police oversight, finance and architecture; for a full list, descriptions and contacts go to www.fergusoncity.com, then to ‘government’, then to ‘boards/commissions’

Twilight Run – Ferguson’s family-friendly race through historic neighborhoods; to access the numerous job descriptions and volunteer application go to www. fergtwilightrun.com, then to ‘sponsor and volunteer’, then ‘volunteer’

Farmers Market – North County’s outdoor market relies on volunteers to set up and take down vendor booths as well as to help at the information table, run cooking contests and staff the craft booth; contact

FLIERS – The Friends of the Ferguson Library support it and the community with annual book and craft sales; contact Janie Norberg at 521-4663

4th of July Activities – Volunteers are needed to line up the parade, block roads, and assist during the festival for one of the area’s most fun celebrations; contact 521-4669.

Any community organization which wants to be included in a future list email: fergusonmainstreet.org

Every one of us knows why we came to Ferguson. We saw Ferguson as a community that had it all. Stately homes, a vibrant downtown, convenient location, and a down home feel. Ferguson became your community because you made it the place you wanted to live. We can’t slow down. We need to pick up the pace and show all of North County, all of St. Louis County, St. Louis City, and all of the surrounding counties, that Ferguson can bounce back and become the example of what a community’s citizens can do to make their city theirs.

Make the Commitment; Ferguson needs You!

And don’t forget to bring along a friend.

<fergusonmainstreet.org>

314-882-1337

Citywalk News for March

Why volunteer?

It doesn’t take a lot when you really look at it.

All we need to do is set aside our differences and recognize that we need to live a life bigger than ourselves. We need to show up for our families and the friends in our lives, the people in our community. We need to stand and make a difference. We need to understand that it’s on each and every one of us to bring about changes we seek for our community.

Last month, I promised that I would give you a few ideas of volunteer activities that are available to you in your community, but I received a well written letter from a member of our community that I would like to share with you.

The many community organizations in Ferguson have been a significant factor in contributing to a quality of life not found in most surrounding municipalities. Sadly, several, such as the 4th of July Committee, Ferguson Parkways and the Ferguson Caring League have already died. Others, like the committees for Streetfest and Northern Lights, are on life support. The overworked volunteer base of most others sorely needs to be re-invigorated with fresh blood. The community atmosphere in Ferguson continues to attract new families and those residents, as well as established ones, are truly needed to join the effort to maintain what attracted them here in the first place.

Volunteers plan family-oriented activities like Streetfest, 4th of July, Twilight Run and Northern Lights. There are volunteer needs at outdoor activities like the Farmers Market, Earth Dance, the Volunteer Flower Department, the Summer Concert series and youth athletics. There are more adult-oriented groups like the library’s Fliers, the Lions, the Rotary Club and the Ferguson Historical Society. Service groups like the 3 weekly food pantries, FYI sponsors or the municipal government boards urgently need volunteers. So much of Ferguson’s vibrancy, which is now endangered, comes from the community working together on activities like these. Ferguson’s future depends on connecting people with fresh energy and ideas to our local organizations.

Making this connection will take all of us, though.

ORGANIZATIONS- please email darstrd@charter.net with your name, a few words about your purpose and contact information.

RESIDENTS- look through the list in upcoming Ferguson Times of organizations which need your help and make a commitment. Ferguson’s people make this small town a big deal!

–John McDonald

What do you think? This letter pretty much lays out the needs of our community. Watch this area in the future for lists of organizations that need your input. In the meantime, if any of these opportunities are of any interest to you, you could contact City Hall and get any contact information of how you can become part of these groups.

If you are looking to teach your children how to be good neighbors and citizens, take a little time to connect with your neighbors. Did you know that just having a casual conversation keeps us better connected. Maybe doing a little something like bringing your neighbors trash cans in on a rainy day; there’s no end to how you can brighten someone’s day.

Maybe, on a Saturday morning, and pick up some trash in your neighborhood or get a group and get out in the more public areas for a clean-up. We don’t need to wait for an organized clean-up to get out there and make our community beautiful.

Don’t forget to get your children involved in these types of activities getting them started in a lifetime of caring and giving. Are you attending your Neighborhood Group meetings? These meetings are listed in this fine ‘good news’ generating monthly newspaper. Get involved.

Donate food to the food banks. I’m sure they would also accept dish soap and paper products to help the needy as well as personal products.

Shop local. Keep your support in your community when you can. If we support the businesses we still have, others will see that they would be supported if they were to bring something that would be appreciated. Just give them a chance.

When I was involved with the Boy Scouts, we would work to instill in the guys the slogan, “Cheerful Service for Others”. Remember, it doesn’t take much to make our community the community where you would want to live. Sometimes, all you need to do is to show up.

<fergusonmainstreet.org>

314-882-1337

Citywalk News for February

Why Volunteer?

With busy lives, it can be hard to find time to volunteer. However, the benefits of volunteering can be enormous. Volunteering offers vital help to people in need, worthwhile causes, and the community, but the benefits can be even greater for you, the volunteer. The right match can help you to find new friends, connect with the community, learn new skills, and even advance your career.

Giving to others can also help protect your mental and physical health. It can reduce stress, combat depression, keep you mentally stimulated, and provide a sense of purpose. While it’s true that the more you volunteer, the more benefits you’ll experience, volunteering doesn’t have to involve a long-term commitment or take a huge amount of time out of your busy day. Giving in even simple ways can help those in need and improve your health and happiness.

Benefits of volunteering: 4 ways to feel healthier and happier

  • Volunteering connects you to others
  • Volunteering is good for your mind and body
  • Volunteering can advance your career
  • Volunteering brings fun and fulfillment to your life

Source: HelpGuide.org (Your trusted guide to mental health & wellness)

Tips to get started

First, ask yourself if there is something specific you want to do.

For example, do I want…

  • …to improve the neighborhood where I live
  • …to meet people who are different than I am
  • …to try something new
  • …to do something with my spare time
  • …to see a different way of life and new places
  • …to have a go at the type of work I might want as a full-time job
  • …to do more with my interests and hobbies
  • …to share something in which I’m good

The best way to volunteer is to find a match with your personality and interests. Having answers to these questions will help you narrow down your search. Source: World Volunteer Web

How to find the right volunteer opportunity

There are numerous volunteer opportunities available. The key is to find a position that you would enjoy and are capable of doing. It’s also important to make sure that your commitment matches the organization’s needs. Ask yourself the following:

  • Would you like to work with adults, children, animals, or remotely from home?
  • Do you prefer to work alone or as part of a team?
  • Are you better behind the scenes or do you prefer to take a more visible role?
  • How much time are you willing to commit?
  • What skills can you bring to a volunteer job?
  • What causes are important to you?

Where to find volunteer opportunities

  • Community theaters, museums, and monuments
  • Libraries or senior centers
  • Service organizations such as Lions Clubs or Rotary Clubs
  • Local animal shelters, rescue organizations, or wildlife centers
  • Youth organizations, sports teams, and after-school programs
  • Historical restorations, national parks, and conservation organizations
  • Places of worship such as churches or synagogues

How much time should you volunteer?

Volunteering doesn’t have to take over your life to be beneficial. In fact, research shows that just two to three hours per week, or about 100 hours a year, can confer the most benefits—to both you and your chosen cause. The important thing is to volunteer only the amount of time that feels comfortable to you. Volunteering should feel like a fun and rewarding hobby, not another chore on your to-do list.

Getting the most out of volunteering

You’re donating your valuable time, so it’s important that you enjoy and benefit from your volunteering. To make sure that your volunteer position is a good fit:

  • Ask questions. You want to make sure that the experience is right for your skills, your goals, and the time you want to spend. Sample questions for your volunteer coordinator might address your time commitment, if there’s any training involved, who you will be working with, and what to do if you have questions during your experience.
  • Make sure you know what’s expected. You should be comfortable with the organization and understand the time commitment. Consider starting small so that you don’t over commit yourself at first. Give yourself some flexibility to change your focus if needed.
  • Don’t be afraid to make a change. Don’t force yourself into a bad fit or feel compelled to stick with a volunteer role you dislike. Talk to the organization about changing your focus or look for a different organization that’s a better fit.
  • Enjoy yourself. The best volunteer experiences benefit both the volunteer and the organization. If you’re not enjoying yourself, ask yourself why. Is it the tasks you’re performing? The people you’re working with? Or are you uncomfortable simply because the situation is new and unfamiliar? Pinpointing what’s bothering you can help you decide how to proceed.

Source: HelpGuide.org (Your trusted guide to mental health & wellness)

Next month we will suggest a few organizations here in the Ferguson community that would appreciate your time and support. We’ll also give you a few ideas of opportunities you can do on your own or with your family.

<fergusonmainstreet.org> 314-882-1337

Citywalk News for January

It’s January. That month when we want to make our own lives better. Eat healthy, lose weight, get in shape, stop smoking, start saving for retirement, you know, all that stuff you always think about.

Here’s a good one. Help your community be the place you’ve always dreamed it would be. And starting a business is an awesome way to help your community.

Starting a business is a scary thought though. Do I have the wherewithal, (my favorite word which means; resources; means, according to the dictionary), to run my own business? Do I want to take the risk? Will my product be needed? Do I want to do everything myself or should I employ help? What kind of business would I start that could help my community? There’s a million questions that come to mind. All it takes is to make an internet search and you can find all kinds of ideas on different types of businesses you can start.

Last month, we thought of what kind of downtown businesses we would like to see on our Main Street and one area I mentioned was small manufacturing on Airport Road. Some types that would help fill the void here in Ferguson, that were mentioned last month, such as; bistros and bakeries, but let’s look at a couple of businesses that we don’t already enjoy.

Pet Store offering pet food, toys, and supplies to all of you pet lovers. You could even offer home-made pet snacks.

Sewing and Quilting Shop offering sewing machine rental (in-store and out) specialty fabrics and threads, swatches for the quilter. You could offer classes, events, and a place for clubs to meet.

Pillow and Rug Manufacturer. Check out www.dreamweavers.com in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. They use remnants and other discarded pieces to make pillows, rugs, cubes, and Pilate balls. These are very interesting and different. I have talked with the owner and he told me that they used to supply pillows to a large department store and couldn’t keep up with the demand, so he had to scale back, and he does have an awesome product.

Niche Snack Foods. Do you make a snack to take to different events such as a Super Bowl Party and everyone can’t stop eating your goodie? Maybe you can expand that into a small manufacturing business and have your product packaged and sold in grocery stores.

Bread Maker. Everyone loves good artisan bread but instead of only offering retail, you could venture into supplying local restaurants and grocers.

Specialty Soaps. Do you make your own soap? Why not share what you do with the community, but on a larger scale?

Meal Kits Sales and Delivery. Not everyone has time and/or the ability to come home after a long day and make a nutritious meal for the family. You could prep and supply a ready to eat meal delivered in time for dinner.

If you have the ability and know how, a Paper, Bag, and Box Maker. You could make stationary, envelopes and journals for folks that don’t count on their computer for such items, or you could make and supply printed bags for the different businesses and with the help from the Sewing Shop, reusable bags. With an operation like this, you could even supply different size boxes for moving, shipping, and storage.

Or, if you happen to own a large, empty building, you could split it into sections and offer a Retail Incubator. Make multiple, small store fronts and offer start-up businesses a spot where they could test their product and business model on a small scale before they would want to jump into a business full-fledged.

Have any of those creative juices begun to flow yet? Is this the year that you’ll jump in and start your own business? Of course, you don’t want to just jump in and get started, there’s a lot of homework to be done, rules to discover, and questions to be answered. Do your homework and ask questions.

Just think, your daily commute would be short.

CONTACT

FERGUSON CITYWALK
110 Church Street
Ferguson, MO 63135
(314) 524-5197
EMAIL

 

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