WEST TOWN — Along the sidewalks of Chicago Avenue, parkas have been swapped for T-shirts, crocuses are blooming and babies are in strollers.
In other words, spring is in the air, and leaders of the West Town Neighbors Association believe this is the perfect time of the year for residents to make a dedicated effort to be nicer to each other.
On April 1, the association launched a “Kindness Campaign,” in which residents are encouraged to participate in a series of activities and actions that promote kindness.
Residents are encouraged to post a photo or a description of their kind actions using the hashtag #WTNAKindnessCampaign.
A list of 50 different Kindness Campaign actions and activities can be viewed at the WTNA Facebook Page.
Here are just a few examples:
- Leave extra quarters at the laundromat
- Take time to meet and thank a police officer, paramedic, firefighter, teacher, bus driver or librarian
- Organize a game up pick-up basketball or soccer at Smith Park
The boundaries of the West Town Neighbors Association are Western, Damen, Chicago and Grand Avenues.
Like other neighborhoods in the Northwest Side, this cross-section of West Town has been affected by gentrification and skyrocketing home values.
At a recent West Town Neighbors Association meeting, longtime residents told Alderman-elect Daniel La Spata (1st) about rising property taxes pushing middle class families out of the neighborhood.
One woman described a mom-and-pop landlord on her street who was forced to sell his mixed-use building to a larger, more affluent developer after being unable to afford his own property tax bill.
This campaign is a chance for West Town neighbors to get to know each other and to connect with each other in a positive manner, association president Elizabeth Kuhn-Tomka said.
The Kindness Campaign will conclude with a clean and green clean-up event from 9-11 a.m. on April 27.
During the rest of the year, the the neighbors association hosts four quarterly meetings, book and garden club meet-ups, a fall block party, a holiday social and a charity event.
The association also collaborates with other neighborhood associations in the area for special meetings on public safety and local elections.