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5 Simple Ways to Better Your Philadelphia Neighborhood

As you’d expect, the city where Earth Day was born has some powerful ideas on how to create cleaner, healthier and happier neighborhoods. From gardening to volunteering, there are many ways citizens can act for make their neighborhoods safe and beautiful. Here are just a few ideas to get the ball rolling: 

* Lead the effort and become a captain with the Philadelphia More Beautiful Committee. As the person in charge, you’ll organize cleanups and empower residents to bring out the neighborhood’s best. All crews who join can enter for a chance to win the Clean Block Contest. Visit philadelphiastreets.com to get involved.

* Get into gardening. The Philadelphia Horticultural Society (phsonline.org) can provide ideas on starting a community garden for everyone to enjoy. Once your block garden is growing, arrange to donate some of your crops to City Harvest (phsonline.org/programs/city-harvest/), which helps feed more than 1,200 families in need each week during growing season.

* Leave the car in the garage and get moving with the Philly Free Streets program, which temporarily closes streets to vehicles and invites people to walk, bike and play in a diverse corridor. The program will take place on Aug. 11 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. with an 8-mile round trip route between City Hall and Erie Avenue on North Broad Street.

* Talk to your neighbors. Strike up a conversation and take a walk around your beautiful block. Appreciate the sights and sounds and discuss ideas that would make the place even better.

* Look after one another. An initiative like Town Watch Integrated Services uses volunteers who, among other tasks, help students get to school safely or keep a watchful eye on your home while you’re on vacation. This program is available in many Philadelphia neighborhoods. For information, visit townwatch.net or call 215.686.1459.

By working together, residents can help solidify Philadelphia as one of the best hometowns around.