Getting Involved in Your Neighborhood
Community involvement starts close to home, in your neighborhood. Do your children know your neighbors? Does your child know your neighbors’ kids? Do the families of your community get together often? Community involvement includes both youth and adults, so it’s important to get everyone involved in turning your community into one that values youth.
- The first Tuesday in August of each year is National Night Out, when neighbors all over the country come together to learn more about each other and talk about ways to keep their neighborhoods safe. Some neighborhoods host block parties, cookouts, or parades. Attend this event, or start one of your own. Visit nationalnightout.org to find out more.
- Spend time outside when you notice that your neighbors are out. Introduce yourself and your children, and chat for a few minutes.
- Once you get to know your neighbors, get together periodically to discuss neighborhood concerns. It’s easier to create, agree upon, and enforce neighborhood boundaries when neighbors know each other and each other’s children.
- Make connections between your children and your neighbors—if your child is interested in a particular career path and you have a neighbor employed in that field, see if they’d be willing to let your child “job shadow” for a day. Or if your child plays an instrument, introduce him to a neighbor who plays the same instrument.
[Activity Idea: Do You Know Your Neighbor?]
- Many communities have organized groups that older children can take part in, such as volunteer groups, event planning committees, and community recreation departments. Other organizations, such as schools and congregations, need volunteers periodically, and provide great opportunities for community engagement.
- Get the help of other parents and plan a community activity for young children, such as an art project, a game, or a bike and trike parade. Ask kids what they’d like to do, and get the word out by posting flyers or sticking them on your neighbor’s doors.
Many families are fortunate enough to live in an engaged community in which adults and kids share a strong connection. If you live in one of these neighborhoods, take advantage of it! If not, you have a great opportunity for helping the children and adults around you.
Start getting involved and make your community better for everyone in it.
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