Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bayview residents on "Why I contribute"

Gatherings of people who live, work and play in Bayview are common near the Quesada Gardens. The gathering pictured occurred on MLK Day 2009.

At Quesada Gardens Initiative's December 2010 meeting, at a home alongside the first garden in what is now a network of projects that involves hundreds of people throughout the heart of San Francisco's Bayview neighborhood, involved residents talked about why they got involved ... and why they stay connected.

One highly-involved student liaison from University of San Francisco, and a diverse collection of thirteen Bayview residents spoke. Participating residents' ages ranged from four to seventy, were both renters and home owners, new arrivals and folks who have been in Bayview for generations. Here is what they had to say:
QGI is a model of what Bayview can be. It’s about progress.

It’s easy to support QGI. There are so many ways to help.

A contribution from community members to QGI is like giving money to ourselves. The benefit is direct.

The garden itself draws new people to the community. The garden is its own best advertising.

I volunteer with other nonprofits, but like QGI because it is local, and it gives me a place to share my talents.

Because Annette is so lovable!

QGI breeds sociability.

QGI is a good model of grassroots community-building.

We can shape the community here, whereas other neighborhoods are shaped for us.

When people live at Quesada Gardens, they can still define their own community…unlike other neighborhoods.

We include everyone. Everyone has a say. We all have respect for one another, and everything we do is transparent.

It’s about tolerance and respect.

QGI is “the commons.”

I still feel like I’m free here.

All are accepted, all are forgiven.

QGI is people sticking together and working toward a safe place to be.

QGI is a group of people who have brought together their good intention. The people who make it all happen are really special.

Neighbors coming through feel more secure because we’re out and about. We used to do the neighborhood watch-style of organizing on the block, but it never really went anywhere. Now we are actually out on the street instead of just watching out our windows.

QGI teaches by example. At USF, service-learners often report that they learned more about social justice and grassroots power from QGI than other community partners.

QGI keeps it real in a neighborhood that is one of San Francisco’s last places for people who aren’t rich.

You can give these folks who spend their time and resources to build community another reason to stay involved: Because supporters know we're here and care enough to contribute.

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