26 Nov 2018

Things We Take For Granted:

Cyber Gratitude Monday: Capitol Hill BID

Jeffrey looks at Big George during the lighting ceremony 11/25/18. Photo by Maria Helena Carey

It’s easy to become jaded with the world if you spend any amount of time reading the news. Today, as most of us know, is Cyber Monday, an ersatz holiday celebrating office internet speeds and consumerism. I’m not here to judge you for your shopping habits, other than to beg you to please shop local and to support our neighbors as much as you possibly can. But if you can share your gratitude with the businesses, places and people who help make Capitol Hill such a great neighborhood, it can make all the difference, mostly within all our hearts. (And in the comments– hint, hint.)

Last night, after a day’s postponement due to weather, the Capitol Hill Business Improvement District celebrated the annual lighting of Big George, the cedar tree planted at Eastern Market plaza and nicknamed in honor of George Didden, the BID’s founding president. Patty Brosmer, executive director of Capitol Hill BID, reminisced how the tree was about 20 feet during its first lighting back in 2007. Now, eleven years later, Big George proudly stands over 45 feet in the air, spreading happiness and holiday cheer even before it’s officially lit up.

Together with the lighting of the Capitol Hill Menorah –happening this year on Sunday, December 2– these community events bring us together during the often dreary and dark days before Christmas. It’s an opportunity to enjoy and celebrate our neighbors. The gatherings are an outward and visible signs of happiness and celebration and every year, we absolutely love them.

But there are daily celebrations happening all over our streets and they may not be so obvious.

Thanks to the Capitol Hill BID and with the support of sister non-profit Ready, Willing and Working, people reentering society after incarceration are able not just to get a job, but to thrive and to improve their lives while getting the emotional and practical support they need in order to truly change their path and break the cycle of recidivism. Not just that, but they are able to improve their lives and those of other people around them. You can read stories like the one of Andrew Lee, Director of Operations for the Capitol Hill BID to understand how a program that takes into account the whole individual and their needs can change whole communities.

The blue-clad ambassadors are there to pick up daily litter and to make our streets look cleaner and more inviting. They are there when it rains and when it snows, and they are there to clean up after our Fourth of July, Market weekends, and street festivals. They are there to help hand out water and treats to runners after the Capitol Hill Classic. They are an intrinsic part of our community, reflecting the best of people and what can be done when we care for our neighbors at a deep, organic level.

Whenever I see the Capitol Hill BID blue around the community, I am reminded of the kindness and thoughtfulness that changes lives for the better at so many levels. This season, I am grateful for the BID, for the ambassadors, and for Ready, Willing and Working.

It was wonderful to be there last night, watching Big George shine and hold up his golden star for everyone to see, so everyone knows it was our Men and Women in Blue who have cared for him and nurtured him and allowed him to double his size and be our holiday time pride. Make sure you go to our Instagram stories (Facebook link) and watch the moment the lights go on, so you can share a little of last night’s magic if you were unable to be there.

Did you go to the tree lighting? Make sure you share your photos with us! Tag #thehillishome

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