Although we talk a lot about community in the aggregate and global online communities, it’s always refreshing to return to the roots of community, where it all started: the neighborhood. And this last few weeks have been great for grass roots community in my neighborhood: a multi-family garage sale; a take-back-the-night block party, Labor Day neighborhood BBQ, and help for a sick neighbor through Lotsa Helping Hands.
Multi-Family Garage Sale
We held the 17th annual multi-family John Street garage sale.
The biggest one to date with close to 20 families and multiple adjoining streets participating, all selling junk and so called “collectibles” (or more appropriately named “disposables”) to fellow neighbors and visiting bargain hunters. In the case of the neighbors, the activity should be titled “swapping” rather than “selling” as a year from now, you’ll be seeing those articles up for offer again in neighboring yards.
Take Back the Night
We held our annual Take back the night block party.
This is an opportunity for neighbors to get together, introduce themselves, and see how they can better join together to solve common neighborhood local crime and other problems. Showing the “perps” that we and not they own our streets.
Labor Day BBQ
One of the neighbors always hosts a BYOB&B (bring your own bottle and burger) BBQ on Labor Day and this year was no exception.
Lotsa Helping Hands
I remember when I was growing up, my mom making soup for the sick old lady who lived next door and other neighbors popping in with various homemade treats. Now there is an online equivalent to make this process more effective: Lotsa Helping Hands.
One of our neighbors is recovering from cancer and while she is recovering, cannot support herself. Neighbors have signed up on the site to volunteer for and schedule tasks such as make breakfast, cook dinner one night , take the dogs for a walk on certain days, pick up dry cleaning and so on. It’s an incredible system and a great site.
In all these activities, it was so encouraging to see closely located but normally relatively socially isolated folks come together in a spirit of sharing and genuine community.
How, if at all, can we reproduce that in our own primarily online communities?