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
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
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.