EDITION 39
Welcome to the 39th 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
Neighbour shout-outs!
Is there someone doing awesome 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!
David shares: Brian and his family did two things of note during this difficult year of lockdowns. In the warmer weather, they wrote jokes and inspirational messages daily on the sidewalks in the neighbourhood. Also, in the winter, they have been among a select few who spent time and effort to maintain a natural place where people can skate - and outdoor exercise has been so important this year. Thank you!
Lincoln Village neighbours host virtual herb bowl workshop
At the end of April, neighbours from Lincoln Village gathered virtually for a herb bowl gardening workshop led by the Waterloo Horticultural Society. Thanks to a pandemic mini grant, participants picked up workshop kits including bowls, soil and seeds and joined neighbours for planting tips and tricks. A great time was had by all.
Become a Block Connector
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. 
At-home garden kits distributed
On Saturday May 15, participants picked up their at-home garden kits from the City of Waterloo Service Centre. Kits contained two tomato plants, an assortment of herbs, a petunia, two pots, soil, fertilizer, and planting instructions. A special thanks to the Pollinator Working Group volunteers for supporting the contactless pick-up.
 
The at-home garden program is a free opportunity to support resident health and wellbeing during the pandemic. It provides a low-cost opportunity for food access and strengthens neighbourhood connections through sharing of garden tips, tricks, and ideas.

We can't wait to see your plants grow! Don't forget to tag us on Instagram @citywaterloo to show us your progress. Happy planting!

Planter photo credit: Erica B.
The Neighbourhood Matching Fund deadline is June 2
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. 
 
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!
Gardening with the Waterloo Horticultural Society: Cherry tomatoes
If you’ve ever popped a cherry tomato in your mouth right off the vine, while it’s still warm from the sun, you know why these flavourful, bite-sized delights are one of the most popular garden crops. They’re also a great way to introduce children to gardening.

Cherry tomatoes are easy and satisfying to grow even if you are new to gardening. To grow them from seed, they should be started indoors about six weeks before the last frost. They need fewer days to mature than regular tomatoes, which is a big advantage locally.

Both cherry and regular varieties of tomatoes are a warm season crop, requiring 6-8 hours of full sun a day but preferring 8-10 hours. They like weed-free soil, well drained and high in organic matter. Since vegetable plants are 75-90% water, they require 2.5 cm of water per week. It is best to water in the morning and long soaking watering is preferable to frequent short watering. During the time of fruit development, keeping the soil moist helps to prevent blossom end rot. Overwatering, on the other hand, will cause the cherry tomatoes to split.

You may grow tomatoes in a garden bed, raised bed/garden box or container. Leave at least two feet between each plant to allow for their spreading habit and to ensure good air circulation. You will save room and decrease the need to prune your plants if you stake, trellis or cage the plants. Tomato cages can be purchased inexpensively and can be used year to year. It is best to put the cage on while the plant is small. Cherry Tomatoes are an excellent candidate for container growing so you can grab a quick, fresh snack on your way out the door!
Scavenger Week Extravaganza!
In April, neighbours from Erb West and Beechwood Neighbourhoods organized an area wide, COVID-safe event: Scavenger Week Extravaganza and it was a great success! There were lots of smiles, amazing discoveries, fun dances, beautiful artwork and kind words. All at a distance!

Under pandemic restrictions, volunteers created a list of scavenger hunt challenges that could be done close to home with an indoor and outdoor option. More than 80 families registered resulting in over 200 participants! Throughout the week, participants were asked to try to complete at least one challenge per day. Each day, 3 prizes were awarded to randomly selected registrants and final/bonus prizes were awarded at the end of the week to those who fulfilled challenges. 
 
With the help of a pandemic mini grant organizers launched the event and coordinated prizes. Support and/or donations were also received from Carizon, Libro, Costco, Noor Foods, Blessed Hair, Oz Hair & Nails, Churchill Arms, IDA Pharmacy, ToysRUs as well as promotion by Keatsway and Centennial Public Schools. 
 
Special thanks to the team of volunteers who virtually facilitated the many tasks required and to several neighbourhood youth who got heavily involved with organizing. 
Bookmark contest – celebrate our native pollinators!
UN World Bee Day was May 20! Celebrate World Bee Day everyday by creating awareness about our native pollinators!

Create your very own bookmark masterpiece with your favorite native pollinators and flowers. Geared to youth ages 9-14, this pollinator bookmark contest is available until June 11.

The City of Waterloo’s Pollinator Working Group and Waterloo Public Library will select contest winners and share their names and bookmark designs online during National Pollinator Week (June 21-27).

Waterloo’s Rainbow History: 50 Years of GLOW
Sunday, June 6 at 12 p.m. and 3 p.m.
For Pride month, join the City of Waterloo Museum, for a walking tour on the University of Waterloo campus as we pay tribute to the origins of the Glow Centre in celebration if its 50th anniversary. From it's 1970 origins as Waterloo Universities' Gay Liberation Movement (WUGLM), through today in its incarnation as the Glow Centre, this important institution is the longest lived student-led 2SLGBTQ+ group on a Canadian university campus. We'll be joined by Jim Parrott, curator of the Grand River Rainbow Historical Project and former Executive Director of SPECTRUM, Waterloo Region's Rainbow Community Space. Jim will help us discuss the origins of the Glow Centre on UW campus! Find out more at our "Waterloo’s Rainbow History: 50 Years of Glow" tours on June 6 at 12 p.m. and 3 p.m.
 
Add your name to the waitlist for this event as we are waiting for the province to determine the number of participants allowed. 

Waterloo Wellington Neighbours Workshop June 15 at 7pm
The Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington and local partners, with funding from the United Way Waterloo Region, are offering education sessions community members, businesses and service providers to identify vulnerable and at-risk older adults.
 
In this 1-hour virtual training session, participants will learn how to identify at-risk and vulnerable older adults, and how to connect older adults to community supports with a simple phone call. Topics include: risk, including forms of elder abuse.

The session is limited to 10 participants. To join the Waterloo Wellington Neighbours Workshop on June 15 at 7pm, please email Emma Whitehouse.

Everyone welcome!
Resources:
Multicultural Calendar:
  • 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)
  • May 29 ~ Ascension of Baha’u’llah. A Baha’i celebration which commemorates the death and ascension of Baha'u'llah, founder of the Baha’i Faith, whose teachings centre around the unification of humanity. (Bahá’í)
  • June 1-30 ~ Indigenous History Month. Started in 2009 with the passing of a unanimous motion in the House of Commons. (Canada)
  • June 1-30 ~ Pride Month. The month of June was chosen for LGBTQ2+ Pride Month to commemorate the Stonewall riots, which occurred at the end of June 1969. As a result, many pride events are held during this month to recognize the impact LGBTQ2+ people have had in the world. (International)
  • June 1 ~ Global Day of Parents. A day for appreciating all parents for their selfless commitment to children and their lifelong sacrifice towards nurturing this relationship.

Source: Canadian Centre for Diversity & Inclusion
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