Welcome to the 31st 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 they subscribe through the link at the bottom or waterloo.ca/subscribe
Spotted, neighbourhood kindess!
Is there someone doing awesome things in your neighbourhood? Nominate them for Neighbourhood Kindness recognition!
Neighbours are an important source of day-to-day help and community connection. Saying hello, helping with snow shoveling, or dropping off a meal to provide comfort or support demonstrates care for each other.

The City of Waterloo wants to increase awareness of what it means to be a good neighbour and to recognize people who do something great, big or small, in their neighbourhood.

Nominations will be accepted year-round and every nominee will receive a thank you package.

How can you get involved?

  • Submit a quick and easy nomination to describe your kind neighbour’s contributions
  • Help spread the word about this new program
  • Be a caring and kind neighbour!
Have an idea to support neighbourhood connections? Consider applying for a pandemic focused mini grant.
The pandemic focused mini grant funds will provide support to initiatives in neighbourhoods that: 

  • respond to emergent needs and opportunities at the neighbourhood level
  • contribute to community building
  • encourage neighbourhood interactions
  • empower neighbours to lead
  • are in compliance with all COVID-19 public health directives

Community members, working independently or collaboratively, who are Waterloo residents may request fund between February 1-28, 2021 for project use by May 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 or pandemic focused mini grant has been received in the past 12-month period
  • can request up to $500 cash and/or in-kind to support eligible expenses for initiatives in neighbourhoods in the City of Waterloo

To request funds, contact the neighbourhoods team
Enjoying outdoor rinks
It's great that residents are enjoying neighbourhood rinks and we thank our volunteers for their hard work to keep the ice ready.

Please remember to follow provincial regulations: there is a maximum of 10 people allowed on the rink at a time, and you must stay at least 2m/6ft apart.

There have been reports of people skating and/or walking on local stormwater management ponds. This activity is strictly prohibited. Water conditions in these ponds are unpredictable and they are extremely unsafe for skating, swimming or any other activity. Please do not walk or skate on stormwater management ponds.

Photo credit: Kat, Cornerbrook Outdoor Rink
Neighbourhoods Workshop Series
From February to April, the City of Waterloo will connect neighbours through a virtual Neighbourhood Workshop Series.
These workshops will engage neighbours in discussions and help them strengthen communication, conflict resolution, and inclusion skills. All workshops will be facilitated by local community leaders.
The series includes the following workshops:

  • Virtual Volunteering Workshop - February 11, 12-1pm
  • Communicating with Neighbourhood Audiences during COVID - February 24, 7-8:30pm
  • Best Practices For Moderating a Social Media Community - March 9, 6:30-8pm
  • Active Bystander Training - March 23, 6-9pm
  • Anti-racism in Neighbourhoods - April 14, 7-8:30pm

All Waterloo neighbours are welcome to attend! The workshops are free and registration is required on Eventbrite.
Just Saying Hello!
Last week neighbours on the westside of the city delivered a small token of friendship with the intent to lift spirits of nearby residents. One neighbour created the card pictured above with a note: Just Saying Hello and a message that read: “Happy New Year! We count ourselves very lucky to have you as our neighbour.”
To deliver this project and create a sense of connection, organizers accessed funds through the Pandemic Focused Mini Grant.
12 Days of Celebrations
Wissler Old Abbey neighbours celebrated this December with a 12 Days of Christmas neighbourhood challenge. Each activity amongst the 12 gave neighbours a different way to get involved. There was a scavenger hunt, cookie decorating, virtual caroling, Food Bank donations, window or lawn signs, light decorating, recipe sharing, and more! Thanks to the organizers for finding creative ways to stay connected this winter. 
Waterloo’s Bee City Working Group - volunteers needed
Share your passion for pollinators! The Pollinator Working Group plans and delivers educational experiences and community stewardship activities relating to native pollinators and their habitat. Meetings are held the 1st Thursday evening of the month from 6-8 p.m. virtually via Zoom. Hands-on activities take place weekday evenings or Saturdays from May to October. 

Apply online with resume by February 22, 2021. Interviews will be held February 24 and 25, 2021. View the Terms of Reference and Volunteer position description for more details: www.waterloo.ca/BeeCity
Feedback needed on updated draft of our transportation master plan
The draft of the City of Waterloo Transportation Master Plan 2020 Update (WTMP) is now available, and we want to know what you think!

This strategic planning document will define the policies, programs and infrastructure required to meet the city's future transportation needs and fulfill Waterloo's transportation vision. The 2020 WTMP provides new and updated policies and actions to address evolving transportation and land use issues facing the City of Waterloo.

Please take some time to review the information on Engage Waterloo and share your thoughts with us. The survey will be open for feedback until 11:59 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19, 2021.
Multicultural Calendar:
  • February 6 ~ International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation. To promote the elimination of female genital mutilation, and to engender greater focus on human rights, gender equality, sexual education, and attention to the needs of women and girls who suffer from its consequences.
  • February 11 ~ International Day of Women and Girls in Science. A day designated for the dismantling of gender stereotypes – specifically to end institutional and systemic gender imbalances in science.
  • February 12 ~ Chinese New Year / Lunar New Year. Lunar New Year is also commonly known as Chinese New Year. Each New Year is associated with one of the twelve different animals of the Zodiac. This year is the Year of the Ox.
  • February 12-14 Losar (Tibetan New Year). The holiday is a new year's festival, celebrated on the first day of the lunisolar Tibetan calendar, which corresponds to a date in February or March in the Gregorian calendar.
  • Friday 13 ~ World Radio Day. An international day for recognizing the enduring power of radio to promote the pluralism, representation and diversity that is needed to build a more peaceful and inclusive world.
  • February 14 ~ Valentine’s Day. A day of romance when people celebrate their love for one another. The origin of this holiday dates back to the 5th century and is named after a Christian martyr, St. Valentine. (International)
  • February 15 ~ Family Day / Islander Day. Civic holiday in AB, BC, NB, ON, SK which celebrates the importance of family. Islander Day is a civic holiday observed in PEI. (CAN)
  • February 15 ~ Louis Riel Day. Civic holiday in Manitoba which commemorates the life of Louis Riel, a Canadian politician and leader of the Métis people. (MB)
  • February 15 ~ Mi’kmaq and Nova Scotia Heritage Day. Civic holiday in Nova Scotia which celebrates Mi’kmaq heritage and culture. (NS)
  • February 15 ~ National Flag of Canada Day. This commemorates the official birth of the Maple Leaf Flag in 1965. Canadians often celebrate by wearing red and white.
  • February 16 ~ Vasant Panchami. The Hindu festival that highlights the coming of spring. On this day Hindus worship Saraswati Devi, the goddess of wisdom, knowledge, music, art, and culture. (Hindu)
  • February 17 ~ Ash Wednesday. Marks the first day of Lent. The name is derived from the symbolic use of ashes to signify penitence. (Christian)
  • February 17 – March 29 ~ A 40-day fasting period (excluding Sundays) observed by Christians, in preparation for Easter. (Christian)

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.

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