In a few days, I am moving to Ithaca, New York to start a new position with Tompkins County’s Planning and Sustainability Department. Before I begin this journey, I’d like to reflect on my time living in Savannah.
I was tempted to title this post: Get Your (stuff) Together Savannah, but decided against it. Looking at the long list of things in need of attention in the city made me feel a bit hopeless. Instead, I’d like to focus on the efforts to improve this magical little city.
For the past three years I have called Savannah home. As a transplant here I’ve felt welcomed by many locals and other people who chose to live here. I have memories and friends here that I will never forget. Here are some worthwhile efforts to make Savannah a better place:
- Loop it Up – Molly Liberman was one of the very first people we met when we arrived. Her community art program started with a focus on knitting and crochet but has since expanded to a wide range of media. She seems to have an infinite amount of energy to keep making her programs bigger and better. (Consider attending “Soup it Up for Loop it Up” – a fundraiser event next month.)
- Deep Center – My wife and I both volunteered with Deep as writing fellows. This group is changing the story in Savannah by helping kids express themselves through writing. Each semester Deep works with dozens of middle school students in the Savannah – Chatham County Public School System to publish their original poetry and prose. Volunteering with this group was a transformative experience for me.
- Savannah Bicycle Campaign – This group of tireless advocates and bicycle enthusiasts is led by John Bennett who also authors the “News Cycle” column in our free alt-weekly and DJ’s on WRUU. In addition to pushing League of American Bicyclists Five E’s approach, SBC runs a unique program called “New Standard Cycles” which donates refurbished bicycles to people in need of transportation options in the community.
- Healthy Savannah – This collaborative organization to improve community health grew out of a City of Savannah initiative under mayor Otis Johnson. The group advocates across a wide range of issues to address health equity and policies.
- Open Savannah – Our local Code for America brigade formed only last year but already they have taken on several major civic hacking projects.
- Savannah Urban Garden Alliance – Gardeners from dozens of neighborhoods formed SUGA (pronounced like sugar) to represent their common interests and get more people involved in gardening. There is still time to get involved in their upcoming “SUGA Rush Scavenger Hunt.”
- I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our local Congress for New Urbanism chapter. Volunteers from this recently formed chapter have been planning the annual CNU gathering in Savannah for the past year. If you need an excuse to visit – CNU 26 may just be it.
Truthfully, this list could go on and on. There are dozens of other organizations working to improve the lives of people in Savannah. This city is blessed with an abundance of people working on her behalf.