Sandwiches for the homeless. Recycling. Being nicer, just because we need more of that.
It doesn’t take a lot to make a better city for all of us. Sometimes it’s as simple as bringing in your neighbor’s trash can, calling the city to fix a broken street light, checking in on an elderly member of the community—or simply looking out for your fellow residents.
Today, as many of us look to make resolutions in our personal lives, we asked Philadelphians to make a resolution for their city, as well. And we’ll ask you, too: How will you work to make a better Philadelphia in 2020?
Natalia, North Philadelphia
“Me and my friends are trying to go feed the homeless, and we have had this plan for a while to give out sandwiches. New Year seems like a good time to do so.”
Want to join Natalia and her friends in their pursuit? Check out our guide on how to help the homeless in Philadelphia.
Sheila, Northwest Philadelphia
“I want to continue finding ways to reduce waste. Piggyback Treats Company in Chestnut Hill inspires me because our goal is to reduce food waste; we do that by piggybacking with small businesses and local family-run farms and we take their human-grade food items and make them healthy treats for pets. All our treats feature a main ingredient that has been rescued from these places. I think this is a great practice [of reusing and recycling] that I wish to incorporate into my everyday life.”
Want to do your part to cut back on food waste? Support local restaurants that are doing their part.
Ibn, South Philadelphia
“I’m going to be 24 [this year] and I’m going to start small and get a recycling bin for my house. It’s about time.”
Already have a well-worn recycling bin? You could graduate to the next step and start composting.
Marc Brownstein, president/CEO, Brownstein Group
“I would like to establish a stronger dialogue between the business community and the elected leadership of the city to collaborate on ways to bring high-paying jobs to the city. When you accomplish that, you have the financial resources to solve a lot of the city’s problems, such as poverty, education, and infrastructure.”
Jameelah, Northwest Philadelphia
“I’m back in school and so is my daughter. Right now, I’m focusing on my education. I’m in nursing school as an adult learner and that’s how I give back. I also want to bring in the new year with more tolerance and patience with each other’s differences. I live a philosophy of knowledge, wisdom, and understanding; if you miss any of those steps, you don’t get a truthful understanding. We don’t have to agree, but we have to get along with each other and those disagreements. That’s something I’m working on, and I hope to see others work on it too.”
Want to support folks like Jameelah and her daughter who are working toward their education? Here are 20 ways to help Philly schools.
Erica Atwood, chief of staff to incoming City Councilmember Jamie Gauthier
“In my new role, I’m committing to creating a culture of putting people first, implementing a spirit of caring for our team, our constituents, and my colleagues.”
We’re jazzed about the new blood entering City Council. Learn more about the freshman class in our profile on Jamie Gauthier.
Lauren, Northeast Philadelphia
“I’m in a sorority [at Temple University] and we do a lot of community service. I was the community service and philanthropy chair [this past year] and hopefully I’ll still be involved, even though that is no longer my position. Being a nice person—that’s a big enough community service sometimes because everyone is rude. Everyone is always so stressed out in this city. I want us all to relax.”
Want to up your community service game this year? Check out our guide on how to clean and green up your neighborhood.
Bill Marimow, recently retired Philadelphia Inquirer reporter/editor
“I would like to teach at a Philadelphia area college and introduce students to the tenets of excellent journalism—emphasizing local news and the commitment to accuracy, thoroughness, fairness and mastering both sides of a story.”
We dig Marimow’s commitment to quality, transparent journalism. We recently wrote about why he reminds us of what journalism ought to be about.
Kelly Croce Sorg and Aurora Archer, co-founders of The Opt-In Podcast and Abundance Productions
“For us, 2020 has to do with New Year’s revolutions (Revolution: dramatic and wide-reaching changes in the way something works or people’s ideas about it). We’ve been collectively conditioned that any measure of success must be accomplished with difficulty, that there’s only so much to go around and that fun is a frivolity. Our revolutions for the year 2020 are: EASE of opportunities, ABUNDANCE for all and BLISS.”
Yassine, right, and friend
“We are thankful for the environment here: The lights during the night, everyone having fun. That’s the cool thing about the holidays that we shouldn’t stop doing once the new year begins. I like to be supportive of my friends and family; giving back and helping them out any way I can.”
Eric, West Philadelphia
“All I can do is say thank you to everyone who has been supportive of me and my work as an artist. I can also give some counseling to young people who, like me, want to be artists. Sometimes people want to be artists but wish someone could mentor them or have their questions answered; I want to fill in the spaces for people who are missing an artistic syllabi. It’s the time to be thankful. I believe in God and it’s my time to be thankful for all the good things that happened to me and [to everyone else] in 2019. Usually, people rush into the new year without being thankful for the previous year, but I think you need to be thankful for everything that has happened while working [on yourself] in the new year.”
Lorene Cary, novelist, Penn professor
“Project HOME founder Sister Mary Scullion once advised me that the aim in creating an organization is to make it a blessing to everyone who comes into contact with it. Each New Year, that’s my prayer, which I hear in my head in her voice. For 2020, it’ll apply to the reboot of VoteThatJawn, to support young voters, and My General Tubman, my first play, which premieres at the Arden in January.”
Want to help get out the youth vote for 2020? Cary’s Safe Kids Stories has some ideas for how to do that.
Debbie, Lewes, Delaware
“Every year, after the holidays, my parish connects families with those in need, to help give them gifts, clothing, food, and toiletries.”
Photos by Kiersten A. Adams; interviews by Nick Fiorellini.