By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
To one community group in Sunset Park, it’s the little things that matter.
Sunset Park Restoration, a 1,000-member strong civic improvement group, is bringing a small town feel to the big city. The group is bringing back a "Thank You Good Neighbor" certificate award program that it first instituted 24 years ago.
“We are urging our over 1,000 members to present the certificates for things like sweeping the sidewalk, assisting the elderly, organizing activities for kids on the block, organizing a block association, participating in community clean-ups and even things that some might consider relatively minor - like checking on an elderly neighbor once in awhile,” said Sunset Park Restoration board member Tony Giordano.
The goal is to reward local residents for the small things they do right, things that might have been overlooked before, Sunset Park Restoration members said.
"We all like a pat on the back once in awhile. When someone takes notice of a little ‘good deed’ and recognizes it by presenting you with one of our certificates, it reinforces that positive behavior,” Giordano said.
Members are already on the lookout for do-gooders. People in the group have been given certificates that they can present to anyone they see performing a simple neighborly act that makes life in the community a little better.
To kick off the new campaign, board members of Sunset Park Restoration met with Assemblyman Felix Ortiz (D-Sunset Park-parts of Bay Ridge) and presented him with the first "Thank You Good Neighbor" certificate. In thanking the group, Ortiz said programs like this increase positive behavior on the part of community residents.
Sunset Park Restoration also reached out to the Sunset Park Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District (BID), seeking the cooperation of the community’s business leaders in the program. Sunset Park BID responded by providing several hundred copies of the certificate to local shopkeepers to give out to residents they observe in the Fifth Avenue area who are involved in positive acts that benefit the entire community.
"We hope to provide positive reinforcement when we observe fellow shopkeepers sweeping up, or see pedestrians going out of their way to put trash in the corner pails. Even a simple thing like helping an older person into a car will be recognized. No good act is too small to be recognized" BID employee Cathy Williams said.