By Fran Johnson, Publisher, Harford’s Heart Magazine
In the same way that a house becomes a home, the community where we live becomes our ‘home town’ when we take a good look at all the elements and invest ourselves in those things that contribute to the overall quality of life. When we move into a new house, we bring with us an accumulation of past experiences and all the items that give us comfort and contribute to our identity. The new house has its own history as well, showing up in squeaky floorboards, cupboard doors that stick, mismatched hardware on cabinets, or paint colors that are true to its heritage but that clash with our furnishings. Finding ways to blend our past with our new surroundings can be a challenge. Over time, though, we become accustomed to the layout of rooms and discover unique features of the house (that quirky little cupboard under the stairs, the built-in linen closet). We evaluate the things we brought with us, choosing sometimes to downsize or discard things that don’t quite fit, and we begin to incorporate new items that reflect our taste as well as complement the new surroundings. The same process applies to redecorating: rediscovering the features of the house that attracted us initially, identifying the elements of our life that are central to our identity, making changes to showcase those things we love, and re-investing in our home.
Transforming our community from simply ‘where we live’ to our ‘home town’ involves a similar process: discovering all the unique characteristics of the community, exploring the back roads, finding those one-of-a-kind shops and services that make Harford County a great place to live, work and play.
Keeping it Local is as much about connecting with the community as it is about shopping local and attending community events. It’s also about supporting the causes that others in the community have identified as meeting a need. Every house has features that we’d like to change: those uneven steps on the back porch, the awkward lightswitch in the closet. Sometimes it seems easier to ignore them than to make the effort to correct them, although sometimes the ‘fix’ is easier than we think.
Contributing to the community organizations to help address community needs is a way to address those needs to enhance the quality of life for our neighbors and, ultimately, for ourselves. In addition to the services provided by the Harford County Department of Services, there are a number of non-profit foundations that support the community. These range from business and professional organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, and the Havre de Grace and Bel Air Main Street associations, to foundations like the Community Action Agency, Greater Bel Air Community Foundation, Community Foundation of Harford County, Harford Family House, SARC, and Harford Habitat, and faith-based organizations.
Investing in our community by supporting these organizations, as a volunteer and with contributions, connects us with the community, changes our perception of ‘where we live’, giving us pride in our ‘home town.’ Giving it Local is another way of Living Local and Keeping it Local.