Hoping to keep things fresh in Malverne

Civic association shares goals and initiatives for 2018


The Malverne Civic Association needs a few more good men and women. The group is seeking to add activities to its to-do list and could use some extra sets of hands.

“We’re busy all year, but we’re still looking for new ideas and new blood to come in and get involved, because it takes a village,” said Kathi Monroe, the association’s vice president. “A lot of us are committed in other organizations, so it would be great to have additional hands.”

Monroe said that current members have brought “new life” to the group in recent years, but she would like to see more residents involved. “There’s a lot that we’re excited about in 2018,” she said, “but I’m most excited about the membership drive, because of the fresh ideas that we hope and expect [it] to bring in.”

This year, the association plans to revamp the village’s annual garden tour, scheduled for June. The Malverne Chamber of Commerce coordinated the fundraiser each year, Monroe said, but interest in the event has dwindled over the years.

“We’d like to bring this event back, because it’s a great opportunity for our local gardening aficionados to showcase their yards,” she said. “We already have a number of homeowners who are willing to open their yard to the public and share some historical ties about their home and their garden.”

Group collaboration

Association President Suzanne Parra said she hoped the group could work with other organizations to plan and host events throughout the year. It has already collaborated on events such as Groundhog Day and the annual holiday tree lighting, but members would like to do so in other areas.

“In my honest opinion, one organization’s event is great, but when you partner up, it’s amazing,” Parra said. “The best events that we’ve had, we were in collaboration with somebody else.”

“We’re a village of volunteers,” added association Trustee Toni Sussman. “Unifying the village has always been our goal, so we want to be involved with anyone who wants to support the entire community, whether it’s for children or parents or elderly people.”

Boosting its online presence

The civic association also wants to improve communication among members online. This year, the group plans to redesign its website to make it more user-friendly.

“When you’re around long-term,” Monroe said, “people kind of forget about you unless there’s some fresh reason to check you out.”

While the group has promoted events through fliers, newsletters and posters, Monroe said some residents like getting news online. The association is also looking for “tech-savvy” volunteers to revamp its Facebook page.

“We all know that self-promotion through social media is huge,” Monroe said, “so we would like anybody that’s interested in joining our board to help us with our social media presence.”

Providing additional services for all

While the association hosts many family-friendly events, the group reminds residents that members address local concerns, too. “We’re also here to help residents in things they feel they may not be able to tackle alone,” Parra said.

Last Halloween, the association introduced the Teal Pumpkin Project, for children with allergies. Families put teal-colored pumpkins outside their homes to let trick-or-treaters with food allergies know that they had non-food treats available.

“That’s the kind of thing we can be more on top of,” Monroe said. “We’re looking for those kinds of causes that people may not be aware of.”

The civic association also plans to conduct meet-and-greets every other month for residents to speak with village officials and community leaders.

“It’s small and it’s local, but a lot of the dignitaries come, so that’s a great way to meet them if you feel that you don’t have access,” Parra said. “I believe that the village board is very reachable, and I think that they’re very transparent. But some people may just feel like a more casual setting is a better way to get to know them. We love being a part of that to make sure residents feel that way.”

The civic association wants to continue to promote the values of the village through its volunteers. “Malverne is a very special place, with special people, and we’re proud of all the organizations in the village that strive to support our community,” Sussman said. “Each one has their special way of doing it.”