City Green by DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan
Many of us have a place in our community that needs some tender loving care. Maybe an old building needs some paint or a piece of ground needs to be cleaned up from the piles of old food wrappers and unwanted trash. City Green is the story of how a community comes together to turn a trash-ridden plot of land on a city block into a community garden. Old and young alike join together to make this happen.
Do you have a project for your community in mind? What steps would you take to make your idea into a reality?
Before Marcy and Miss Rosa can actually start their community garden, they need to get permission from the elected officials in their community. Their first step is to write a petition that reads, We want to lease this lot, and to try to get as many neighbors to sign their petition as they can.
Find out to whom you would have to ask permission if you wanted to plant a community garden in a vacant lot in your community. Then develop an action plan for how you would get your friends and neighbors to help out.
Think about how you would handle the following sticky situation:
You and a friend are walking home in your neighborhood. Two girls from your class are walking in front of you. Suddenly one of the girls throws a wrapper from the candy bar she is eating onto a vacant lot. You call out to her and ask if she knows she dropped the wrapper. Her answer…”It’s only a dirty old vacant lot where everyone throws their trash. Why should I have to pick up my wrapper?”
What would you do or say in that situation? Be prepared to support your answer.
The right to petition the government is written in our Constitution. Think of an issue you would like to bring to a teacher, a principal, a state representative, a community leader, even the President of the United States. Write a short letter that explains what you would like to see changed.
For example, you could petition your School Board to consider having a later start to the school day or you could petition your community leaders to use some of the local tax money to buy new equipment for your local playground. Be sure your letter clearly explains what you want changed. Then begin to gather signatures, letting the signers know what you want and to whom you will be giving your petition. Remember, the more names the better when it comes to petitions.
Writing a petition, being respectful in the way you gather signatures, and being respectful in the way you present your petition are ways to have your voice heard about an issue that is important to you.