—by Gerald F. Schnepf, Executive Director,
Keep Iowa Beautiful, "Building Strong Communities"
In studies of "happiness" it has generally been determined that money does not necessarily guarantee happiness. On the other side of the issue, there is considerable proof that those individuals that achieve happiness tend to have a greater chance at wealth. True happiness comes from the relationships with family and friends and from work that has purpose, is pursued ardently and that stimulates personal pleasure.
Happiness is based on three key decisions in our lives:
? Where to live.
? What to do.
? Who we do it with.
"Where we live" is where Keep Iowa Beautiful can help. Individuals and families use many factors in making their living decision – i.e. the job we take, who we marry or live with and the one factor that plays a key role – the cleanliness and attractiveness of the neighborhood or community. We all like to live in places that are special in term of its beauty, architecture, cleanliness or maybe its landscape qualities.
When a business is looking for a new location or expansion, they often do a detailed analysis of work force, service costs, utility availability, tax issues etc. But, often the first impression of the place by the visiting business representative tends to override all of those factors. If a favorable impression is provided on the first visit, it often is the final factor in the decision and generally the most important one. First Impression – Final Factor!
This tends to be the same process when we as individuals or families are looking for a new place to live. We check out a number of elements including school system, utility costs and services, health services, etc. but the first impression of the community and its appearance become important. Based on that long term decision, it is important that we help to take care of our home and community and keep it attractive into the future. It keeps land values and pride high.
As we approach the season of giving, consider a gift of a project in your neighborhood or community that will improve that first impression. Consider cleaning up a nuisance area, fixing a fence, removing items stored outside, helping a neighbor improve their property, painting a building, planting trees, shrubs or flowers and maybe even starting a volunteer group to help do improvements to the community on a periodic and consistent basis.
What a great gift to yourself, your family and the community and the community where you live.