Betsy is a writer for the small paper published weekly in our town. She noticed that there were pockets of beauty popping up in new places! The popping-up beauty was in places that she didn’t expect them to be ~ like in areas and neighborhoods filled with families who struggle to get by. They appeared in neighborhoods filled with single parent homes and yards containing cars that don’t start. Suddenly there were places with new paint, repaired porch railings, flowers planted, windows with white stickers telling her that the windows were clean, efficient and newly-installed. Driving though our town and observing these small pockets of beauty, she became curious. Who lives there? Is there a story? A little reporter research led her to our door. Betsy and I met today and I was very excited to share the “Planting the Beauty” project we’ve quietly begun in our town.
We began by approaching families purchasing their own homes and working to create life for their families, asking if there’s any way we can be helpful. Suspicion mixed with curiosity met us at most of the doors. But some folks were so willing (or so desperate) that they stepped onto the porch and let us explain a bit about our “Planting the Beauty” project. How many times does someone approach with an offer of home repair help? So, some folks were brave enough to say, “Sure.” We quietly, respectfully listened to the expressed need of each home owner, setting a time to return with a bit of a plan. Generally folks met us a second time for the “Let’s make a plan” date. Sometimes they didn’t. Those who did, we shared our thoughts about the piece we could offer, how it might move forward and a specific “next step.”
As the process moved forward, we also connected with a local elementary school and the West Side Collaborative, which gave us connection and credibility. This was a huge leap in our beautification project, as they connect with low income families working to buy their homes. Now our efforts are multiplied! We’ve had the privilege of installing handicap ramps, new windows, a few new furnaces, hot water heaters, kitchen appliances, repairing messy bathroom leaks and doing complete bathroom and kitchen remodels and upgrades.
Betsy asked lots of questions about subcontractors we connected with, construction material sourcing and how this is all paid for. We were glad to share names of the kind, generous subs and material suppliers who’ve blessed us. The financial investment is an overflow of the desire our hearts to create the most peaceful, lovely city in the United States in which to raise a family. Sharing the “Planting the Beauty” project has resulted in donated funds being added to our personal financial investment.
Willing and glad to share our story and confident that it would spread, rally community curiosity and maybe raise some donor support, Betsy left. She promised to continue to notice and mention the pockets of beauty in her writing and touch base again next year to collect progress updates.