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Our View: Being the change we want to see in our Nevada County community

The Union Editorial Board

If you’re out and about today and seem to notice an inordinate number of people sweeping sidewalks, painting curbs or picking up trash along a roadside, it’s for good reason thanks to some good people.

Organized by Anew Day, dozens of volunteers plan to participate in the Random Acts of Kindness Event (RAKE) geared to bring the people of western Nevada County together for a few hours — 9-11 a.m. — in efforts to make our community an even better place to live.

Small armies of volunteers will spread out among 24 sites to complete projects from “highway clean-up and park landscaping to school revitalization and trail restoration, we will work as teams to clean and refresh our community’s streets and neighborhoods.”

Meanwhile in Nevada City, from 8 a.m.-1 p.m., a clean-up effort is being coordinated by the City of Nevada City, the Nevada City Police, Public Works, and organizations such as Hour Nevada County, Sierra Roots, the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce, and neighbors and downtown businesses.

The focus will be on washing sidewalks, parking meters, painting curbs, pruning and weeding, and graffiti and sticker removal throughout downtown Nevada City and the Seven Hills District, a news release stated.

Projects for the second annual RAKE are spearheaded by community leaders of all sorts, from county supervisors to nonprofit executive directors to local law enforcement officials. Those folks have all the tools and plans in place for their respective projects.

“All you have to do,” the RAKE website says, “is come with a willing heart and be ready to make your community even more beautiful than it already is!”

No doubt Nevada County can supply plenty of people with willing hearts, which is obvious through the large number of nonprofit organizations and their volunteers who regularly help provide services to the community.

But those who organize large-scale efforts are also providing those who are too often busy to regularly volunteer — whether due to working a second job, raising their children or caring for a spouse or loved one — with easy opportunities to give back to the community.

Whether with RAKE, Nevada City’s work day, or the recent Great Yuba River Cleanup hosted by the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL), or several other such efforts throughout the calendar year, we are provided opportunities to set aside our cellphones, and perhaps even our differences, to come together for the benefit of this place we all call home.

And in the process, the organizers of these events are creating connections, as well as a sense of stewardship, ownership and pride in our community, perhaps to the point that the next time someone is about to spray-paint a side of building someone else might say, “Hey! Don’t tag that! I just painted it!”

Through such efforts we are raising the bar in our community in what should be expected of those who live here.

Rather than looking at an issue and assuming someone else will address it, we’re asking “How can I be part of the solution?”

Rather than waiting for someone else to step up, we’re jumping in and grabbing that tire out of the river or whitewashing that fence, so to speak.

Thanks to those who organize these efforts, we are provided the opportunity to actually be the kind of change we want to see in our community.

So as you’re out and about today, and you see those who have stepped up to share some sweat equity, be sure give ’em honk, a friendly wave or a even shout of “Thank you!” for doing so.

The weekly Our View column represents the consensus opinion of The Union Editorial Board, a group of editors and writers from The Union, as well as informed community members. Contact the board at EditBoard@TheUnion.com.

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