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Gearing up to be good neighbours

Written on April 2nd, 2007

The first province-wide Good Neighbour Campaign for the Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools (OACS) is underway.

The Good Neighbour Campaign encourages OACS schools to increase their profiles by organizing and participating in events to serve the local community.

“The stories for this campaign are just starting to come in,” says Barb Bierman, the central region co-ordinator for the Good Neighbour Campaign.

Bierman says this fall and winter schools have been training and getting ready for the events. The four regional co-ordinators have been coaching schools on how to promote the events and get them published in the local media.

“We’ve published a manual and everything for them,” says Bierman. “This getting started year has been a little more labour intensive.”

The Good Neighbour Campaign workbook is available on the OACS website. It has practical and step-by-step information for schools on how to plan their event. The workbook has a variety of ideas for community events.

From holding a free car wash to bringing an umbrella to a shopper caught in the rain, all events show a random act of kindness to locals.

“The point of the whole program is to encourage schools to develop strategies at the local level to highlight the good things the schools do for the local community,” says Dr. Adrian Guldemond, the OACS executive director.

When schools increase their local profile, good things happen, says Bierman. “I think that community will be blessed by knowing they have good neighbours,” she says.

Bierman says people at the schools are having fun with the campaign, and it is re-energizing volunteers.

“There’s a range, lots of creativity out there,” says Tony Kamphuis, the golden horseshoe region co-ordinator.

Michael “Pinball” Clemons has been helping the OACS raise their profile through a radio ad that schools can use, says Kamphuis. The Toronto Argonauts football coach has sent his children to OACS schools and agreed to use his image for advertising, says Kamphuis. The Good Neighbour Campaign co-ordinators are distributing the radio ad to schools.

The Good Neighbour Campaign was launched on a smaller scale in 2003, and Bierman says there is now a new model and resources for schools. She says the schools are keen to be part of their communities.

“This is an ongoing thing. OACS schools will be encouraged to do this forever and ever,” says Bierman. “We’re your neighbours, and we’re good neighbours.”

Some schools have already published their stories from Good Neighbour Campaigns, click here for more information.