Just moved. New city. Old city. You want to be involved. You have no idea where to start. Couch looks good, let’s start with couch. Ohhh Netflix.
This may be a stretch for some or it might be all too, look of shame, familiar. It became a little too close to home after my husband and I moved to RVA from DC. It wasn’t a major geographical change but it was an overhaul on friends, community, and neighborhood outreach. How can I illicit change when I have no idea where the neighborhood market is? Queue Hey! What’s Good In? (HWGI?) and insert community outreach at your fingertips.
What is HWGI? you ask? I had the privilege of talking with RVA grown, HWGI? founder Marc O’Brien. He talked about “paralysis analysis” where you are inundated with the mass amount of web pages/blogs, all suggesting or discussing ways to get involved. He found a way to “aggravate links into several categories” where the user (me, you, local activist with a ready-made banner and witty pun) choose and search areas of personal interest. More simply, a webpage that eliminates excuses for not getting involved. Links are lined up and you can click your way to community engagement. Find something that interests you and get up offa that thang and get involved ‘til you feel better. (Did I just age myself? Too much? )
Why Uber when you can call bioRide? They go around RVA scooping up all the used cooking oils from various restaurants and use it to make cleaner burning fuel, cleaner than regular gasoline. Who knew? Interested in climbing off the government’s politically inspired food pyramid? Check out Guerilla-Wellness and get inspired to eat well so you can feel well! Want to put in some hours giving back to your community? Join Enrichmond to clean up our parks or plant a tree! Have a skillset? Use this site to find your niche and get involved! This is just a taste of what HWGI? is all about. Good ol’ RVA is one of several cities that are on here and our very own Amber Lantz, co-founder of Love This, is an HWGI? City Ambassador! Check out HWGI? RVA’s Facebook page here.
A little tip of the hat in Marc’s direction, he is challenging our standard approach on how we think about community involvement. Social community, local community, cyber community. There are so many places for you to find your voice. Marc’s impact has been a wide net for creative change.
With all of these good ideas, startups, NGOs and non-profits floating around, I asked Marc why he chose a graphic design outlet versus any other. He said he works in the “design for greater good” field, alternatively design for social change. He embraced his youth of punk rock that screams for you to get out there and “do it yourself” by making ‘design his stage’. His passion is helping people understand how to use their creative talent to live more meaningful lives and contribute back into their community. He wants to “encourage everyone around me to get excited about the skills and talents they have.” Take it one step further by expanding and sharpening that skill and “start to give a sh** about the world you live in. If there is a gap or a hole, there is no excuse not to fill it”. Couldn’t have said it better myself.
Words by Katie Skiff | Photo Credit: Half United
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