Why Should You Participate in Building Your Community (My500)

Day 11 of the 500 Word Challenge. Persuade Me

Dear neighbor,

It has come to my attention that you prefer the comforts of your own home over our community rather than getting involved. I get it. You don’t really like socializing with anyone outside your circle but did you know that crime rates are lower in communities where the neighbors know each other? Did you also know that knowing your neighbor also stabilizes your neighborhood for at least one if not two generations? Did you know that home values are positively affected by stable neighborhoods? Did you know that neighborhoods with a strong sense of community has strong businesses and brings new neighbors who look out for each other?

Neighbor, I know that you don’t want to come out to the block club meetings but what we do affects you. We want you to have a fair opportunity to share your opinion about our needs to present to our local officials. Haven’t you noticed the new street lights, the garbage pick up times have been changed and the new corner planters? Those were all thanks to the club.

Our enthusiasm has infected the surrounding blocks and they have all begun to receive the same things. The latest thing that we want to address is the flooding after the rain. Our local officials don’t go to each block in their district so we are their eyes and ears. It’s much easier for us to contact them and tell them what we need than for them to assume.

Our local high school almost closed due to low attendance but thanks to growing community involvement, they are reconsidering it. Mrs. Jones’s husband who retired from that publishing company is volunteering with the school’s paper and Ms. Bennett volunteers with the arts program. They along with a few other retirees or people with flexible schedules are filling in the gaps for the school which is attracting new students. Neighbor, we need you, too.

We even have helped the aging church with updates. A lot of us are not members but we offered to help them paint the school side of the church. Some of the neighborhood kids attend their youth programs and the pastor wanted to give it a youthful appeal. They have programs there to help the kids with their homework and parenting classes for parents who just want help.

The building manager at the senior building started a cross generational program for the community that mentors anyone willing to come including married couples, parents and young people. The residents really love it since some of them never had families of their own or they have died. There’s a ton of wisdom to be shared there, too. Not to mention that it helps them to age in place. They have had fewer residents to move to nursing homes as result of this program.

Neighbor, no one is asking you to make friends with anyone although I would challenge you to make friends with at least one person. It’s kind of hard to avoid. People are very respectful of each other’s privacy and still look out for each other.

I would be lying to you if I said everyone gets along but there are so few of those. Why focus on the negative? There are more positive stories that come out of our little community than negative. Like the vacant building that was on the corner of the boulevard was purchased by the community. Did you know that? Yep. The city was going to tear it down but a few of the leaders decided to figure out how to save it and rehab it. That is the future site for The Center.

We are so proud of how far we had to go to get the work done. Instead of co-op apartment, it’s a co-op community center. We will pay dues for upkeep and charge outsiders to use the facilities a nominal fee. We aren’t trying to get rich. We just want to be able to maintain it and pay the staff that will care for it. It’s ours.

Now neighbor doesn’t that sound like a good reason to get involved. We can do so much more together and you get to choose how you do it. Think about it and get back to me. Thanks for your time. Peace and blessings.

Here’s to rebuilding our community one person at a time.

Just another day’s journey of playing a role in building my community.

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