NORMAL - Peace, good health, and social awareness are on the wish lists of many Twin City residents for 2006.
While the natural disasters and war of the past year didn't affect them personally, the events did remind some of the people enjoying a Saturday morning in downtown Normal not to take things for granted.
"It makes you realize what you have and how grateful we should be," Dawn Badenhorst said at the Children's Discovery Museum Saturday with her daughter Kylie Badenhorst, 9, and Kylie's friend, Nicole Gregg, 9.
Badenhorst of Bloomington made donations to help people affected by the hurricanes and prayed for the people involved.
"I hope to make a difference (in 2006) in someone else's life “ family or friends - or someone I don't even know yet," the parent said.
Badenhorst, who runs a home daycare, said her family's goal is to try and eat healthier this year, and to be grateful.
She said the war in Iraq was brought home to her family in December when a neighbor prepared to leave to serve his country there. "That was pretty scary for everyone," she said.
"Peace and health" sum up the wishes of Bob Spoor of Normal for 2006. He and his wife Rita walked from their north Normal home into town to enjoy breakfast at the Coffeehouse and Deli in Normal Saturday.
"It's a good time to review the past year and look forward to opportunities in the New Year," Rita Spoor said.
The Spoors have four grandchildren and she looks forward to spending more time with them in the coming year. "I want to be a positive influence," she said.
Tory Ragsdale, 29, originally from New Jersey, now living in Bloomington said he had no immediate family affected by the storms this year, but"on an emotional level," Hurricane Katrina - where people lost everything - affected him significantly.
"It was tough seeing how vulnerable we are to something like that."
To be debt free, and continue his education are personal goes for Tory Ragsdale in 2006.
Last year was personally a tough one for Ragsdale because of deaths in his family. "It reminded me to live life with no regrets. 'We are not promised tomorrow.'"
Craig Schlatter, 28, of Normal, a graduate student at Illinois State University, said the hurricanes affected his thoughts about his career of development.
He works with the Stevenson Center for Economic Development where he is interested in the following redevelopment efforts in hurricane ravished areas.
"If we love and care for each other a little more, some of the problems can fall away," he said,
Stefani Lovelass, 23, who teaches freshmen English students and is working on her PhD in English Studies at Illinois State University was also touched by the events surrounding Katrina this year. Her class studied how different media outlets covered the same events.
She said it was a good lesson about critical thinking.
Many students in her class "are white, and middleclass, and tend to think that most people live in circumstances similar to their's," she said.
"Katrina brought everything closer," she said.
Students were really following the news then, she said adding that she was disturbed later when there were riots related to race in Paris, and they weren't following the news anymore. "They hadn't even heard about it."
Her wish for "the new year and every year" is for people to be engaged and learning about social issues and government.