Being active in your neighborhood is called community engagement. In community engagement, there is a wide range of groups from block parties on up to big charitable organizations and government. For this piece, engagement is cooperating with our neighbors, city, or area to make things better.
Your block is a great place to start being a part of your neighborhood. You can start with something as easy as getting to know the people around you. Lots of people suggest merely hanging out on your front porch. Being outside and seen goes a long way. It can lead to other involvement activities likes scheduled playground days, dog park days, and maybe even lifelong family friends.
Welcoming new neighbors is a tried and true tradition. Welcoming a neighbor is as simple as saying hello and having a small conversation. You might even help them with local places, trash and recycling days, or when the mail arrives.
Another great activity that also introduces neighborhood-wide activities is celebrating National Good Neighbor Day on September 28. Throwing a small gathering or party does not have to expensive. The point is to keep the community close rather than throwing a large party.
Organizing neighborhood activities might seem like a big job, but it does not have to be big or time-consuming. Book clubs, HAM radio clubs, neighborhood sporting groups, or free little library groups are a couple of easy groups that come to mind. Little free libraries are homes or containers in a neighborhood that hold donated books for the community to use free of charge. Some communities erect containers that look like old newspaper vending machines.
A neighborhood watch program not only engages the community, but it also provides an extra level of security. Creating a watch group will take a bit of planning. Checking local government for rules is a good start. The National Crime Prevention Council offers a lot of information on starting your own watch group.
Neighborhood gardens are a time-tested way to engage your community. Many neighborhoods have areas or home lots that are unused and can be repurposed into gardens. Gardening keeps the neighborhood active and can provide needed food to neighbors who have low resources. It teaches self-empowerment to adults and children and also teaches how to be sustainable. Community engagement with your neighbors does not have to be complicated or expensive. Trying things like sitting on your front-porch or gardening can invite in people. Taking it up a level, holding book clubs or free libraries are a little more involved. If an organization is wanted, starting a community garden or neighborhood watch will bring real, touchable results to your neighborhood. It’s good to remember that neighborhoods need many different things and what you can offer is unlimited.