Welcome to the 38th 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 ~ Last call for volunteers in the City of Waterloo through outdoor rinks, community vegetable gardens, block connector program, neighbourhood association, homes association, neighbourhood leaders team, neighbourhood events, or other forms of neighbourhood involvement to please fill out this recognition short survey!
Neighbour shout-outs!
Is there someone doing awesome things near you?

The City of Waterloo wants 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!

Spotted: Neighbourhood Kindness!
Lori shares: "Kathleen is actively involved in our neighbourhood association and is overall just a kind and knowledgeable neighbour. She and her husband Keith have lived in the neighbourhood many years, before we moved into the area, and we have been here for 18 years. Both Kathleen and Keith have been involved on volunteer boards, among other things. Kathleen can be found going to senior's homes and helping with exercises and well being and mental health. We have an amazing neighbourhood. So blessed!"
Do you enjoy creating social connections with others?
Caring and compassionate neighbours improve quality of life. During the pandemic we have seen neighbours sharing and providing important support to each other. Building and maintaining connections between neighbours is the goal of the Hey Neighbour! Block Connector program that started in 2020.

Additional block connectors are needed to help grow the program and reduce isolation through neighbourly outreach. Block connectors can reside in any neighbourhood block or area in Waterloo; including multi-residential housing such as apartment buildings, condos or other clustered homes. Areas can be inside and outside of existing neighbourhood and homes association boundaries.

Those interested in becoming a block connector will participate in a virtual orientation session to discuss the role and program conditions under the pandemic; and will work with staff to coordinate connection opportunities that are appropriate for their area.

For more information visit the Neighbourhoods webpage or email the neighbourhoods team. 
Lincoln Village neighbours virtual art contest
Neighbours in Lincoln Village hosted a virtual art contest this spring as a symbol of better things to come. Thanks to a mini grant, participants received prizes from local businesses. Congratulations to Kids Category: Ellis T., Sarah J., Samantha C.; Teen Category: Julia J.; and Adult Category: Wilma V., Sandy P.
Call for website reviewers - paid opportunity 
There will soon be a new website available for all neighbourhoods information in Waterloo. To make sure the information presented is easy to use, Waterloo residents are invited to assist with reviewing the new website.

Residents across the city that might be familiar and unfamiliar with neighbourhood activities are encouraged to consider this paid participation opportunity. A broad range of experiences are needed to review the new website. To express interest in participating, please complete this online form by May 25th.
Youth in Waterloo Region between the ages 9 and 18 have the opportunity to participate in the Youth Impact Survey. The Youth Impact Survey was developed in partnership WITH young people in Waterloo Region and asks well-being questions on a variety of topics.  

This 20-30-minute survey is totally voluntary and anonymous. Youth who fill it out will receive volunteer hours and a chance to win prizes and the data collected will help inform future experiences for children and youth in Waterloo Region. 

The Backyard Tree Planting program is expanding to Waterloo!
Waterloo residents can learn about stewarding the urban forest on private land through planting and educational workshops.

Tree applications are limited. For more information on this program and to apply online, visit Reep Green Solutions.
Connecting through cooking
Leaders of the UWaterloo Neighbourhood Cooking Project wanted their project to be a healthy way for neighbours to cope with anxiety and stress during the pandemic. The project received funding from the Neighbourhood Matching Fund (NMF) and taught 12 dishes (in 12 online sessions) from different cultures step-by-step to neighbors. They were able to have the online cooking session as a means of getting to know each other more within a fun social activity and talk about differences and problems. The group hopes to continue the connection with neighbours by meeting in-person after the COVID-19 pandemic at Waterloo Park to have a potluck. 
Neighbourhood project funding available
The Neighbourhood Matching Fund is a great opportunity to fund neighbourhood projects that address social isolation, support community wellbeing and build neighbourly connections in safe ways. Some ideas include fun park features, art projects, community message boards, little libraries, virtual events and more! Any two or more neighbours can make ideas happen. 
The next deadline is June 2 before 2pm. October 20 is the fall deadline. 
In light of the pandemic, we've made some small changes to the application process. There is $7500 per project up for grabs and while applicants are encouraged to show how the community will contribute to the project, they are not required to match the exact funds requested. 
We will work with applicants to help provide flexible support for projects that meet current public health and government guidelines. Have a question or need help completing the application? Contact us! We are happy to chat and guide you along to help make your project a success!
When you crush my leaves, I smell like garlic. What am I?
This edible herb was introduced to Ontario by European settlers in the early 1800s. If the leaves smell like garlic when bruised, you know that you’ve found Garlic Mustard! This invasive plant is not fussy about where it grows – you can spot it along waterways, woodlands, trails and even our backyards!

Look for a rosette of leaves in April and a 1-2 ft flower stalk with tiny, white flowers in May. By June, each plant can drop hundreds of seeds into the soil. If you find Garlic Mustard on your property, it is safe to dispose of in your household yard waste collection, as the high heat destroys the seeds. Learn more about this invasive plant.

The Grow Me Instead guide provides tips on growing native species that are best suited to growing in our environment.
Survey for non-LGBTQ2+ residents
SPECTRUM is conducting a survey of non-LGBTQ2+ people in Waterloo Region in order to help us understand community perceptions of LGBTQ2+ people, knowledge gaps, and what support we can provide to non-LGBTQ2+ people looking to become better allies.

This survey should take 5-10 minutes to complete. Individual responses will be kept anonymous, but a public report will be released about the overall response data.
Multicultural Calendar:
  • May 15 ~ International Day of Families. A day which provides an opportunity to promote awareness of issues relating to families and to increase the knowledge of the social, economic, and demographic processes affecting families.
  • May 16 ~ International Day of Living Together in Peace. A day that embraces the principle of peace, non-violent conflict resolution and the elimination of all forms of conflict and intolerance including those based on race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status.
  • May16-18 ~ Shavuot. A Jewish observance of the giving of the Torah, the biblical laws of Judaism, from God to the nation of Israel. (Jewish)
  • May 17 ~ International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. A day to raise awareness of the discrimination and violation of rights experienced by the LGBTQ community. (International)
  • May 21 ~ International Day for Cultural Diversity, for Dialogue and Development. A day to educate people on the importance of cultural diversity and to raise awareness of the related issues faced in today's society. (International)
  • May 23 ~ Declaration of the Bab. This day honours the Bab, who was perceived as the messenger of the God and forerunner of Baha’u’llah, founder of the Baha’i Faith. (Bahá’í)
  • May 23 ~ Pentecost. The annual Christian festival commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit on the disciples of Jesus after his ascension from earth to heaven on Ascension Day. It always falls on the seventh Sunday after Easter. (Christian)
  • May 24 ~ National Patriots’ Day. Statutory holiday in Quebec to commemorate democracy and patriotic struggles for freedom from British rule during 1837-1838. (QC)
  • May 24 ~ Victoria Day. Victoria Day is celebrated in honour of the birth of Queen Victoria, the first sovereign of Canada, postConfederation. (Canada)
  • May 26 ~ Vesak (Buddha Day). This day commemorates the birth, the enlightenment and the death of the Buddha. This day is also recognized by the United Nations. (Buddhist)

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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