Welcome to the 26th edition of Neighbours helping Neighbours, a bi-weekly newsletter from the neighbourhoods team, with a focus on good news stories, important community updates and an ever growing list of support resources.

If you have ideas for resources to share or shareable stories of kindness, please send them to: neighbourhoods@waterloo.ca

PS ~ We'd like to grow the audience for this newsletter! Our request: Will you forward this issue to at least one other person who shares our love of all things neighbourhoods, then suggest that they subscribe through the link at the bottom or waterloo.ca/subscribe
There's still time to apply for a pandemic focused mini grant! Apply before November 30! 
This temporary fund supports emergent and one-time activities that:
  • contribute to community building;
  • encourage neighbourhood interactions;
  • empower neighbours to lead;
  • are new initiatives that have not received support through another funding program, including service agreements, cash grants or the Neighbourhood Matching Fund;
  • demonstrate how the initiative will be welcoming to all populations; 
  • provide clear goals and objectives on how the funds will be used;
  • occur within four months of the application for funds being approved (funds cannot be used to support activities that take place prior to the request) and;
  • comply with all Public Health directives.

Community members, working independently or collaboratively, who are Waterloo residents may request funds between November 1-30, 2020 for project use by March 31, 2021. Applicants:
  • are encouraged to contact staff to discuss ideas for their initiatives
  • can receive funding from this program even if a regular mini grant has been received in the past 12-month period. Mini grants underway may need to be completed before additional funds are rewarded. 
  • can request up to $500 cash and/or in-kind to support eligible expenses for initiatives in neighbourhoods in the City of Waterloo.

Reach out to the Neighbourhoods Team with your ideas or questions.
Lakeshore Hey Neighbour Scavenger Hunt
As a block connector in Lakeshore North, Nancy, was looking for ways to connect and engage neighbours this fall. A neighbourhood scavenger hunt was an idea that fit well with COVID-19 guidelines and provided an opportunity to get outside during the beautiful fall weather in the neighbourhood.

With the help of a fellow block connector to design printouts, and some funds from a mini grant, Nancy launched this idea of an outdoor scavenger hunt one weekend in October. A number of families participated in finding the locations in the photos throughout the neighbourhood for a small prize. One resident even shared the idea with friends in another city! 
Cheering on Neighbourliness in Glasgow Heights II
In February 2020, Glasgow Heights II Homes Association applied for a mini grant to support neighbourhood connections in their area. Neighbours voted at the Annual General Meeting to pursue the funds for a neighbourhood volleyball net, badminton net, and other items to bring people together.

When COVID-19 hit, the group had to adjust how these items might work to build connections and encourage activity.  Respecting COVID-19 protocols, they organized activity that brought people new to the community together with long-time residents. Often, some senior neighbours whose decks backed onto the grass space would sit outside and watch the games and cheer neighbours on! Because of the increased connections in the community, neighbours felt more comfortable organizing other COVID-19 safe activities like a Halloween pumpkin carving contest. 
Gathering spaces asset mapping reminder
Neighbourhood asset mapping is a community-focused way of sharing information about local resources. Asset mapping projects typically focus on resources such as community spaces, skills and strengths of residents, or organizations in the community. The City of Waterloo neighbourhoods team is currently developing a gathering spaces asset map.

Mapping these locations will benefit residents who require access to spaces for neighbourhood meetings and events. This tool will also help enable COVID-19 community recovery by supporting the return to in-person gatherings when it is safe to do so.

Neighbours will be able to browse locations across the community, see details about the spaces (capacity, size, amenities), and access contact information to book spaces for meetings and gatherings. To give residents a better sense of each space, photos will be included where possible.

Do you know of any gathering spaces to include on the map? Let us know your ideas on EngageWaterloo.

The interactive gathering space asset map is planned to be available Spring 2021.
Waterloo neighbour Ekram al Momani shares "Earlier this year, when international students were not able to spend Ramadan (the month of fasting for Muslims) with their families, a group of local Muslim mothers recognized that an opportunity to share tasty food and help these students feel at home and connected.

These mothers provided the international students with cooked meals to break their fast. As a result more that 40 students in Waterloo Region celebrated Ramadan away from their loved ones but connected to this community."
Stop ’n ’chat
Rick Chambers a member of the Age-Friendly Cities Committee shares "With no signs of the pandemic releasing its grip on our community, loneliness may become a major public health challenge this winter. With the Covid restrictions that have become part of our lives, it is easy to shut ourselves off and forget how to connect with people around us. Making new connections is a great way to overcome feelings of loneliness."

The Waterloo Age Friendly Committee urges everyone to “stop ’n ’chat”. Saying hello to a neighbour, speaking to the cashier at the grocery store, greeting people as you pass them on the street can all make a difference. A small change in behaviour can make you feel better and brighten up someone else’s day too. We can all make a difference by talking to each other more while still following public health guidelines.

Here are some tips to get talking:
1.      Start small – Smiling at people has always been a good way to begin. Mask-wearing complicates that idea but the happy crinkles around your eyes will others know that you’re smiling. Or, just say “Good morning” to people you pass in the street. It can make a big difference.
2.      Ask open-ended questions – If you ask someone, “How are you?”, some people will just say, “Fine.” Instead, to spark conversation and avoid one-word answers, try asking for advice or an opinion, or share a compliment.
3.      Look approachable – Non-verbal communication makes up a minimum of 60% of our communication. Before masks, smiling always worked. Now, make sure that you have your arms uncrossed when you greet people, that you’re not using your cell phone, or that your headphones are in your hands, not your ears.
4.      Challenge yourself – Set yourself goals for talking to people every week. Learn the names of your mail carrier, bus driver, neighbours, or store clerks. Make the time to converse with someone new.

Stop ’n ’chat is an easy way to help combat loneliness at this time. Please make the effort to speak to others, be welcoming, and most importantly, be a good neighbour.

More information is available from the UK’s Ministry of Loneliness."
Climate Action in Waterloo
Reep Green Solutions has partnered with Project Neutral to empower individuals to take climate action in Waterloo Region. 

By answering simple questions about your lifestyle, the Project Neutral tool offers you a snapshot of your carbon footprint in less than five minutes and provides actions to help you start reducing it

Try the Project Neutral tool to discover your carbon footprint.
WOW Waterloo
WOW is a Seniors’ Centre Without Walls telephone program that brings social, recreational and educational programs to seniors. Enjoy guests speakers, learn new skills and engage in friendly conversations with other seniors in your community.

In order to join the WOW program you will need:
  1. A working telephone.
  2. You need to be a senior in Waterloo or the surrounding community.
  3. You will be required to register by calling 519-579-1020 x 10037
  4. Answering a brief intake questionnaire.

From there, you will be registered for weekly or daily activities offered on our program calendar. 

WOW Waterloo is an inclusive program for all older adults residing in Waterloo. To promote a welcoming and safe setting for all, we ask that participants observe our Respectful Conduct Policy:
  • to participate in a kind and respectful manner
  • to create an inclusive environment that honours people of all cultures, traditions, faiths, genders, sexual orientation, abilities, and life experiences
  • to respect all group members and their opinions, even if they differ from your own
  • to allow the facilitator, volunteer or guest speaker to lead the conversation or activity
  • to allow everyone a chance to speak and participate by not dominating conversations
  • to maintain confidentiality – information that is shared on the call by others should be kept private and confidential
Intensification Strategy feedback needed
The Regional Official Plan Review team has released a draft Intensification Strategy, as well as a new interactive mapping activity based on the six proposed Regional Intensification Corridors identified in the strategy. Your feedback on the draft strategy and the proposed intensification corridors is needed! 

The purpose of this Intensification Strategy is to identify the amount of growth that can be accommodated within the Built-Up Area of the Region and to assess historic trends and current market conditions to guide the identification of an appropriate intensification target for the Region.
Comments and feedback will be accepted until December 13th, 2020 via Engage Region of Waterloo. If you have any questions, email engagerow@regionofwaterloo.ca
Multicultural Calendar:
  • November 27 ~ Ascension of Abdu’l-Bahá marks the passing of Abdu’l-Bahá in 1921.
  • November 28 – January 6 ~ Nativity Fast. A period of abstinence and penance practiced by the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Churches, in preparation for the Nativity of Jesus (December 25).
  • November 29 – December 24 ~ Advent begins. Advent marks a month-long period of preparation and anticipation for the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day.
  • December ~ Universal Human Rights Month
  • December 1 ~ World AIDS Day. Designated on December 1 every year since 1988, is an international day dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection and mourning those who have died of the disease.
  • December 3 ~ International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Promoted by the UN, this day is to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities.
  • December 8 ~ Feast of the Immaculate Conception. The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception celebrates the solemn celebration of belief in the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary.

Source: Canadian Centre for Diversity & Inclusion
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Waterloo Neighbourhoods is published throughout the year to keep residents informed about the good things happening in neighbourhoods across Waterloo. If you have any questions or comments, please call 519-747-8515 or email communications@waterloo.ca. If you’re reading Waterloo Neighbourhoods as a non-subscriber, visit our subscription page to sign up for future editions.

The City of Waterloo is committed to providing accessible formats and communications support for persons with disabilities. If another format would work better for you, please let us know by calling 519-747-8515 or by emailing us at communications@waterloo.ca.