To Angie McLeod, no action is too small to be considered heroic, whether holding open a door for a stranger, helping a parent put away groceries, or smiling.
She believes that such efforts can make a community better, stronger, more resilient.
McLeod, with the Community Network, Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows-Katzie, has developed a “Superhero” campaign to recognize and celebrate small actions.
The purpose is to raise awareness of how positive actions are the foundation of a healthy community, McLeod said, as well as to promote the network.
A community “Superhero” is someone who helps other people out, McLeod said.
“Holds a door for someone else, does the chores without being asked, shovels the neighbour’s driveway, drops off a meal to a friend who is struggling – the simple acts of kindness that help connect us with each other.”
The network and its volunteers have been promoting the Superhero campaign at community event for the past year, giving away “Proud to be a Community Superhero” T-shirts, hats, stickers, tattoos and buttons as rewards for small efforts – and to share with others modeling such behavior.
“We encourage them to help us spread the word: pass the button on if you see someone doing something good and thank them for being a community Superhero; post pictures of Superheroes you find in the community online and tag them with the hashtag #rmcommunitysuperhero; spread the word; share the thanks.”
The network began the campaign last year and has done seven events now, including Family Literacy Day again at the Maple Ridge library on Saturday, and distributed more than 1,000 buttons.
The network also sets up photo booths at events, for families to dress up in masks and capes and pose as Superheroes.
Volunteers, out in the community doing small tasks, such as picking up litter, also don Superhero costumes, for fun.
“So far we have been going out to local community events – often with a guerrilla tactic of just showing up – to spread the word, invite conversation,” McLeod said.
For the first time, the Community Network will honour community Superheroes at an awards event on Feb. 14, in the Fraser Room at the library.
Certificates of appreciation will be given to extraordinary members of the community.
Those honored will be the eight founding members of the Alouette Home Start Society, which until recently ran Alouette Heights, a supportive housing facility on Brown Avenue.
“It struck me that it is the small, simple gestures that build connections, create a sense of belonging, and engage people in what’s happening in our local communities,” McLeod said.
The Superhero campaign was a place to start, with simple actions that many people do.
The awards, McLeod said, bring recognition to those doing simple acts of kindness, to celebrate them for leading the way.