I am the result of a childhood influenced by Mr. Rogers and Dr. Seuss. Many of us are. I learned and remember the lessons they taught. The wonderful Dr. Seuss had said, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot. Nothing it’s going to get better. It’s not.” And Mr. Rogers noted, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” I came across both of these quotes in the past week. They reminded me of the forums and the power that they, and you, have, to connect and build and heal communities.
E-Democracy has made it a habit to visit every community event where we can talk about the forums, the organization, and just how awesome our neighbors (you!) are. Last weekend, for example, we spent some time with the Gardening Matters’ food hubs. The events we attended were phenomenal successes, but the thing that made me smile most was, “I actually heard about it on E-Democracy forums so I thought I would check it out.” And this week we spent time at the Neighborhood USA Conference. There were individuals and organizations as far as Kansas and Florida and as near as Burnsville and Eden Prairie who are interested in volunteering to run their own neighborhood forum in their community.
I call it “Small Town 2.0.” It’s the almost unbelievable way of using your forum to build relationships, organize and attend events, and grow your community in real and meaningful ways. The internet might be a series of strategically placed O’s and 1’s, but what you do with it counts. It’s using your neighborhood forum to help plan a block party, a lawn mowing schedule for an older or less mobile neighbor, or to find a lost pet. It’s because there’s been a break-in, the sidewalks are cracking and the kids falling off their bikes. And it’s because, “Hey, there’s this community event. Let me tell you about it.”
I have a challenge or two for you:
1) How do you visualize your neighborhood and what does your community want to make happen? How are you going to make these things happen? Our challenge is to go post in your neighborhood forum, your vision and a couple of action steps. Let the world know what your plan is and what you’re going to do about it.
2) Get to know your neighbors, your fellow helpers…because it does matter.
And check out these pics from the E-Democracy panel at the Neighborhood USA Conference.
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