Who is my neighbor? Though most famously posed many centuries ago, this question remains deeply relevant today. What does it mean to be a neighbor and how do we best support the “thriving” of neighborhoods? When answered in context, a good neighbor is one who comes alongside others to help. As Grassroots community organizers, we aspire to be good neighbors.
Sometimes our support takes the form of a listening ear—an opportunity for frustrated members in the community to voice their concerns. Taking note of these concerns, we voice them to others who are often able to address them and assist us in supporting community-led action.
Sometimes support is simply letting others know they are not alone–that there are others who share their concerns, have similar interests or want to address the same issues. This work calls us to collaborate—as community liaisons who connect people… to other people, resources and supportive services.
At other times, our support takes the form of leadership training and development—because we believe that anyone and everyone can be a leader. We assist others as they step forward to take an active role in helping their neighborhood be the best it can be. We support parents as they advocate for their children, lead initiatives in their children’s schools and become active participants in their student’s educational journey. We help teens and elementary students lead initiatives in their schools and learn how to take meaningful, intentional steps toward making the changes they want to see.
Everyone has strengths. Everyone can be an asset in their community. Everyone has a role in creating healthy, happy neighborhoods where all members of the community have an opportunity to thrive.