Tonight was my second National Night Out at my condo complex in Hayward. I have lived here for many years but have never gotten involved in the community. I should. National Night Out brings neighbors and law enforcement together to ask questions, interact with the men and women in uniform and other people in the community. The annual event is scheduled for the first Tuesday of August, with exceptions in states such as Texas. The organization encourages communities to come together and work with each other. From their website, it appears 38 million neighbors in 16,000+ neighborhoods have come together tonight. I was one of them.
As I was in the middle of the opening of DW, I didn't attend last year's event. I received the flyer for this event and I made it a point to attend. I am always wanting to meet new people and I might as well actually put a name to the face of people I see when I walk the Beeves.
Two years ago, we had two fire trucks on site plus police officers. Sara, a neighbor of mine, and I got to sit IN the firetruck and wear fire hats. I had the pleasure of getting a picture with five firemen. Note to self, dig up that photo! I also signed up to be one of two Dog Walk Watchers. It was a program within National Night Out to train neighbors with dogs to 'effectively observe and report suspicious activity. I have always done that so I'm not sure training was necessary. I went to one other community event in Hayward after this event but it didn't continue.
This year, we had a few police officers, a great number of our community in attendance and it was nice to chit chat with neighbors I see only in passing as I walk Bevo. There were ice breaker games, plenty of room, pizza, salad and too many desserts. No firemen this time. Darn.
Many residents have an issue with neighboring homeless, car break-ins, mailbox theft, etc. They spoke with police officers that were present on what they do about clearing the area. I asked what is the city doing about the homeless in general? Clearing them out will only temporarily fix the problem. Neighbors responded that the city has many options for the homeless (which I'd like to look into) but recipients need to be clean, as in not high, in order to take advantage of the services. So are drugs the main problem? Their accessibility? Depression? Bullying? Bad parenting? I would say all are problems and no matter how or where the problem begins, an effort must be done.
What am I doing about it? Goodness. So many causes to think of. I think education is the best place to start. People are never too old to learn something and children's brains are like sponges. I think education sparks motivation and enlightens us all. I am personally always attempting to better myself. I cannot participate in a political debate and I can't tell you the entire roster of our San Francisco Giants, but I can tell you that what I do know has gotten me to where I am today. And the best part is, I want to do more! I would like to think of myself as a mentor for young women and a motivator for people that want to have a better life. If I could make a difference in someone's life, I would.
To take it a step further, I will find how exactly I will be making a difference in my own backyard where I call home. I just signed up as a member of the Hayward Area Historical Society tonight. Practice what you preach, right? I have not been to the museum around the corner and now I can get in for free. The books they have on the history of the area was interesting to see displayed during my visit to The Cannery Cafe recently. I did want to pick one up but I remembered my July blogging goal of reading more. And I still have a tall stack on my nightstand of items to read. I look forward to visiting the museum soon and knowing much more about the land I have lived on for almost 15 years. I hope to become even more inspired to make a difference in my community.