Today is the first annual Say Hi Day which was implemented by the Community Safety & Crime Prevention Council of Waterloo Region. I have noticed Say Hi signs along roads in our area and on the back of our city buses but didn't know what it was about until today. The program was started in 2004 as part of the Get Connected campaign to encourage increased community engagement, especially among youth.
Making eye contact with strangers and greeting them can be intimidating for many people. I remember the halls of high school and the dread I sometimes felt when I had to pass a group of people I didn't know hanging around in the corridor. There was seldom any basis for my fear other than my own self consciousness and insecurity. These days, I often walk the streets and trails in our community alone and make a point of giving everyone I pass a smile, nod or greeting. And nearly everyone reciprocates graciously.
The Say Hi website gives these reasons for the campaign.
- You'll get connected with your community
- You'll remove barriers that separate people
- You'll nurture a sense of belonging & inclusion
- You'll start a dialogue about community safety
Photos from the Say Hi website