Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ten Ways to Start Building Community in Your Neighborhood Now

1. Talk to Your Neighbors.  When you and your neighbor are heading in the door after work at the same time.  Say hi.  If you're feeling really adventurous, introduce yourself.

2. Spend Time in Your Front Yard.  As much as possible, ditch indoor and back yard time for time out on the lawn of your own front yard.  If you have to, make the space a more inviting place.  If you have a porch, outfit it with new rocking chairs or set up a blanket where you can read when the weather is nice.

3. Be a Hub for Neighborhood Kids.  I've talked about this many times before, but it's so important, I have to say it again.  Stock your home with healthy, kid friendly snacks.  Have a few extra helmets, bikes, scooters, and sports' balls on hand for when little visitors stop by.

4. Host Your Neighbors for a Meal.  Invite neighbors over for take out or a simple dessert if that's all you have time for.  The important this is, invite them into your home!

5. Join Local Organizations.  The Rotary Club,  The PTA, a bookclub at your locally owned bookstore, a church, whatever it is- get connected and involved in your neighborhood.

6. Volunteer!  Become a Big Brother or Big Sister, serve food at a local shelter, or hold babies at a local hospital.

7. Know your Service Providers.  Turn off your phone when you go through the check out line at the grocery store.  Greet your mail provider, if you're home when they deliver your mail.  Take cookies to your local police and fire station.  Thank your children's teachers, principal, yard duty, and custodian.

8. Organize a Block Party.  Get a city permit to block off your street, hand out flyers, and set up tables in your front yard for a get-to-know you gathering on your street.

9. Ask for and offer help.   Use the trustworthy teen down the street when you need a couple hours of babysitting for your kids.  Ask the tween next door to house or dog sit when you're away on vacation. Spend time getting to know him/her.

10.  Do It!  There's no one tip more meaningful than this.  You probably have at least an idea or two what you could or should do to get to know those around you.  So, get to it!

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