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A Publication of WTVP

This region has it all: quality businesses ranging from international corporations to small mom-and-pop shops, great entertainment venues that showcase the arts and sports, amazing people who go above and beyond to make a difference, and much, much more. So why don’t we shout it from the rooftops or at least shout it from the blue-box tops?

Have you seen or heard about these blue boxes? They are starting to show up all over the area. They are part of a feel-good movement that is underway in the Peoria Metro Region called I’m Stepping Up. The I’m Stepping Up campaign was created by The Heartland Partnership with help from AdCo Advertising to get people talking about the positive things they are doing to move this region forward. For the past two years, people have been afraid to talk about the good things going on because so many others were dealing with hardships as a result of the recession. This campaign provides an outlet and a reason to start telling positive stories again.

It all centers around a blue box that people are encouraged to literally step up onto and talk about what they are doing that is good and positive. Are they volunteering, mentoring, working on a project that could bring recognition to the region, or maybe simply helping a neighbor in need? Numerous community partners have already stepped up and shared their positive stories by submitting photos and videos online. Participants so far include the Peoria Symphony Orchestra musicians and board of directors, members of the Young Professionals Organization, local business owners like John Bearce, companies such as CEFCU and OSF, District 150 and many more.

Everyone is able to participate in the I’m Stepping Up campaign; young or old, female or male, business or individual—everyone can get involved. First, get a blue box through The Heartland Partnership ($40 sponsorship) or make your own. Second, take video and/or photos of people stepping up on the boxes, and third, submit those videos and photos to imsteppingup.net. The videos and photos will be showcased on the website for everyone to see. It’s that simple.

There are other ways to step up too, like participating in the Pack the Place initiative sponsored by PNC. Businesses, groups and organizations are being asked to purchase blocks of tickets to some great entertainment venues this year and help pack the place. The first event was May 2nd with the Peoria Chiefs. Twenty regional groups participated by bringing nearly 500 people to the game. This is a tremendous way to stimulate the local economy and have some fun while doing it. Unfortunately, many people stopped going out to venues like these because they were cutting back due to the recession. If we don’t remind them of what this region has to offer, there’s a chance they may forget about the great things we have right here in our own backyards. This initiative will help boost the regional economy, increase community vibrancy and generate enthusiasm for the great entertainment venues of our region.

The next Pack the Place event is July 25th at Wildlife Prairie State Park, which includes a picnic lunch. Details are still being finalized for two more events with the Peoria Symphony Orchestra in September and a Peoria Rivermen game in November. More information will be posted online at imsteppingup.net. iBi

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