The Little Things Make a Big Difference - JuniperCivic.com
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Originally published in the September 2010 Juniper Berry Magazine

The Little Things Make a Big Difference

Len Santoro (l.) is pictured with Lee Rottenberg and Theresa Riley painting Eliot Ave bridge

I've heard it said that it is the little things in life that matter the most. I think that truer words have never been spoken! I've come to notice many of the little things in my life, and they are truly wonderful when you appreciate them. I have made a career out of taking large projects and chunking them up into small manageable ones. I've discovered that is how success can be achieved without a large amount of effort.

I think this same principle can be applied to making our community the best it can be. I think that we all have great ideas but either we do not know where to begin, or we just think it is too large for one person to accomplish. Our lives are so full with our family, friends and other responsibilities it is hard to prioritize being a good citizen in our community. So, I'm suggesting that if we just come up with ways to take on the small things that matter the most to us, we will soon find that we have made a much larger impact than we anticipated. Here's how.

One of the things that bothers me the most is graffiti on traffic signs. I think this is one of the little things that we've just come to accept as part of our daily lives. Well, for some reason, which I can't figure out, this problem really bothered me to a point where I stopped saying to myself I wish someone would do something about that and I started saying how can I do something about that? I was coming to the conclusion that I shouldn't wait for someone else to figure out this problem and that's when I realized that I could do something to make this better. With a little ingenuity, I was able to come up with a simple way to tackle this graffiti problem. I started by taking a camera with me everywhere I went. When I see a sign that has graffiti on it, I take a picture of it. This only took a small amount of time out of my day. Then, with just a little bit of research, I found that by dialing 311 there is a web form that takes about 5 minutes to fill out to submit the picture of the damaged street sign. To my surprise, the signs were fixed in a matter of days (on average)! I cannot tell you the great feeling of accomplishment that I had when I saw the street sign free of graffiti. It was like I had a personal connection with making my community and driving conditions better.

This is just one example of how doing a little thing can have a large impact. I have many other examples that I would like to share with you. Do you have things like this that bother you? Do you have stories of how you fixed something that bothered you, or would you like some ideas on how to fix them? Please send in these stories and ideas and together we can make a difference!

justlen@nyc.rr.com