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Dec 27, 2012  |  Vote 0    0

Many ways to improve life in your community in 2013

Bloor West Villager

Author and theologian Frederick Buechner once said, “Your vocation in life is where your greatest joy meets the world’s greatest need.”

The New York Presbyterian minister’s words of wisdom are ones Alexa Gilmour chooses to live by. Herself a minister at Windermere United Church, she says she believes that where your greatest joy meets the world’s greatest need is where you’ll find your calling.

“I come from a religious tradition that believes that we were each made for a special purpose – I also believe we were made for happiness. So, when choosing to do something to make this world better, I think we should also consider what energizes us and fulfills us.”

When contemplating the close of 2012 and the beginning of the new year and what it may bring, keep in mind Buechner’s words when making any resolutions, suggests Gilmour.

“If you love to paint, mentor a child who doesn’t have any artists in her family. If you love to be with people, visit the many lonely seniors in our community. If building is your thing, volunteer your services to a local church or theatre group,” she said.

Fulfilling one’s own passion in turn spills over into one’s community.

“Have you ever witnessed someone who is passionate about something sharing it with others? The joy is contagious. You’re not only make the world a better place, but you radiate joy and give others something to be hopeful for,” Gilmour said. “It’s a double gift to our world when you choose to share the gifts and talents you are passionate about with the world. It also feeds your own soul so you can continue to give without burning out.”

Naturally, the program director of the LA (Loyola Arrupe) Centre for Active Living Melissa Scott’s advice for improving one’s community in 2013 includes being active. Be an active member of your neighbourhood, know your elected officials, get involved with your local Business Improvement Area (BIA).

“Give back by volunteering with local organizations like ours,” she said.

As former councillor of Parkdale-High Park, Bill Saundercook’s wise words had a political twist. Transit was key to improving our community and the city in 2013.

“First, we all need to feel safe when travelling around our neighbourhoods, either on foot, bike or vehicle. If you can leave your car at home, then you reap the benefits of walking and you support your local retailers,” said Saundercook.

A regular transit rider, Saundercook said Torontonians would support the TTC if it stuck to a plan.

“Whether it’s a relief line to downtown or revive my support for a west link to Union station via the already dedicated line to the CNE,” he said. “For approximately $300 million, this line could continue west over the rail lands and connect with the dedicated track on the Queensway, the Queen no. 501 (streetcar). Then, phase two, west onto the very wide Lakeshore Boulevard, west of the Humber River all the way to the 427. Then we’d have a wonderful west link for all those riders.”

The former local councillor advised area residents to keep their eye on key issues, such as the High Park Zoo, speed reductions on local roads, continued support for our BIAs, Bloor West, Junction, the new Baby Point Gates as well as Malta Village and preserving the area’s green spaces.

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