Neighbours help each other in Daalhof

Earlier in June, Serve the City Organized a Neighborhood Day to serve the people of Daalhof. We gathered volunteers from all walks of life to help people in this neighborhood who could use a helping hand with various practical tasks that would otherwise be unmanageable for them. This month we helped remove trash and furniture, hung pictures, gardened, cleaned cars, and built planter boxes just to name a few of the many things we did.

The event is about more than volunteering, though, and we were very happy to see how much the community got involved. Buns for our lunch was graciously given to us by Paulissen Bakkerij in Daalhof and Keurslagerij Paul Wevers donated some of the sandwich toppings. Countless people from the community joined the volunteers to eat lunch together.

The event also would not have been possible without the support of the Sociaal Team Daalhof and de Huiskamer Daalhof. Altogether the event had an uplifting, positive atmosphere and Serve the City Maastricht is grateful to everyone for not just showing up, but also for helping to create such a joyful environment and making the Neighborhood Day so memorable! It will be a hard one to match!

De Huiskamer was a key partner for STC Maastricht at this month’s Neighborhood Day.

Serve the City Maastricht’s Neighborhood Days would not be possible without the commitment from volunteers to give up an entire Saturday to go serve the community and “cross the line” to meet people outside of their usual social groups. Of course, for weeks, even months, leading up to the Neighborhood Day, the organizing team was already hard at work. Serve the City was lucky to have Jacoline Tanis hard at work for months before the Neighborhood Day organizing and coordinating everything for the event. We are sad to announce that this was the last Neighborhood Day that Jacoline will be planning and we are extremely grateful for everything she did to serve the city of Maastricht during her time with us. Thank you Jacoline!

After months of hard work and planning, Jacoline gets the satisfaction of checking tasks off the to do list as the teams of volunteers get them done.

Jacoline’s farewell speech to everyone who attended the event.

All of the volunteers who came to the Neighborhood Day played an invaluable part in making the day such a success. One notable volunteer was Beso Nabelishvili. Beso is originally from the Republic of Georgia, but he left his homeland to seek medical treatment for his little daughter Barbara. Serve the City Maastricht first got to know Beso and his family at one of our monthly Cross the Line Dinners, and Beso was enthusiastic to be part of the Neighborhood Day as well. In Georgia, as Beso says, he does all the repairs in his home himself, so he was excited to put his talents to work serving the community.

Beso’s experience using power-tools and his seemingly unlimited enthusiasm and dedication were a great asset for the Neighborhood Day!

Beso teaches another volunteer how to construct the planter boxes.

It may be natural to assume that hiring someone to come do a job will lead to a better result than having volunteers do a job. But in the case of Serve the City Maastricht, that is simply not true! Our volunteers not only did the tasks that were assigned to them, they made sure to do an excellent job they could take pride in. The day was characterized by some amazing “before and after” moments.

Volunteers Grace and Lowie had their work cut out for them cleaning up this balcony…

But after some trash removal and a lot of scrubbing…

The balcony was looking good as new!

Another amazing before and after was the construction of planter boxes for the Huiskamer Daalhof, a meeting place for neighbors/all people from the neighborhood. Beso and many other volunteers had the task to turn a pile of wooden pallets into planter boxes that would have a special design that allows people with limited mobility to do gardening more easily. Everyone present was impressed by the final result – one guest from the community was so impressed, she asked if a small one could be made for her daughter as well! Maybe next time:)!

Early on, it was hard to imagine that the stack of pallets could become something useful. But Matthew and Beso got to work figuring out how to construct the planter boxes.

The after pictures speak for themselves! A job well done!

What really made this Neighborhood Day special was the number of people from the community who joined the Serve the City volunteers to socialize at De Huiskamer throughout the day. The volunteers and people from the community getting together for a delicious lunch made for a wonderful, uplifting environment. And this is the goal of our events – volunteers crossing the line to not only give back to the community, but to get to know the members of the community as well.

One team or volunteers helped an elderly woman who had recently solved her husband with several tasks around her house. But more important than the tasks that were done were that one of the volunteers sat down and talked to Dutch. Just as important as helping around the house is showing people that they are not alone and there are people out there who want to hear their story.

During the summer, Serve the City Maastricht will not have its monthly Neighborhood Days and Cross the Line Dinners, but we will go back in the fall! Plus, there should be some other activities being organized by us this summer that will give anyone in Maastricht the chance to give their community in interesting ways. Make sure to check our Facebook page   and website regularly to find out about upcoming activities and find out about all the meaningful work we are doing in Maastricht!

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