Why not make the world a better place for all? It's FUN!

by Elise Rivers, Esq., M.Ac., Community Acupuncture of Mt. Airy & Northwest Center for Food As Medicine
Posted 11/25/21

6753 Germantown Avenue got a big facelift Nov. 5, with contrasting colors bringing out its inherent beauty as a Victorian style building with the many details for which that style is …

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Why not make the world a better place for all? It's FUN!

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6753 Germantown Avenue got a big facelift Nov. 5, with contrasting colors bringing out its inherent beauty as a Victorian style building with the many details for which that style is famous.  

Across and down the block from two pocket parks, and readily visible to anyone entering the corridor from Pelham Road, it was clear that this building, at that location, could be a major contributor to the architectural beauty of the Avenue.

As the owner of Community Acupuncture of Mt. Airy (CAMA), I work in the 6700 block of Germantown Avenue.  I noticed about 6 months ago that No. 6753 had been newly painted one color, with all the lovely details obscured as a result.  Being an aesthete, and seeing the visual potential of the building obscured, I felt I had to do something about it.

After 9 years on the Beautification Committee of the Mt. Airy Business Improvement District (MBID), I was used to paying attention to what the Avenue needed and how it could be made more attractive.  I was on the committee the first year 100 flower baskets were hung on the Avenue.  Shortly after, I worked with the MBID to place more than 30 street planters along the corridor to add to the greening.  I'm also very proud of starting the pocket park "movement" in Mt. Airy, by making an inviting green space out of the corner lot at Carpenter Lane, even though it wasn't my property.  I just knew it was the right thing to do, so I invested in it.  Yvonne Haskins, another MBID board member, then took the lead to transform Trolley Car Park near her beautifully painted building at 6751 (with a facade grant from the MBID).  And thanks to MBID leadership, we now have 6 pocket parks!

We can make the world better off than how we find it.  What else are we here for, ultimately, than to love, uplift and create a better world for all?  My experience has taught me that quality of life is determined by the presence or absence of caring, not only for our self interest but for the interest of the community at large.

That's why my business has community in its name; not only because it's our mission to serve the community's physical health, but also because we're here to serve community welfare in general.  These ways include yearly charitable donations to local, national and international organizations from business proceeds, and creating many community events over the years, such as the Mt Airy Holistic Health Fair.  

Giving in this way feels great, and yet, my favorite way to contribute is by creating beauty--architecturally and/or with nature.  It uplifts the spirit, shows neighbors that others care about their environment, hopefully inspires others to take positive action, lowers crime rates, creates live-ability and a legacy.  Wow!  It's work – but very satisfying to care – to do these projects for the benefit of community!  

Despite stepping down from the MBID Board in 2017, I still look for ways to improve the Avenue.  In this case, it was to take a building from "unexpressed" to beautiful, for all the reasons I've mentioned.  It was funded from CAMA business proceeds and a $1,000 matching grant from the MBID Facade Improvement Program (applicants wanted!).  CertaPro Painters did a fantastic job of working with me on this project--and as always--I received invaluable logistical support from my husband Max. If other owners or businesses along the Avenue want help navigating making improvements to their building, which contribute to us all-- I'm here to be of service.  Together, we can create sustainable, positive change.

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