Forward Wayne County is focused on Neighborhood Development this month. According to a study from the Pew Research Center, only 57% of Americans say that they know some of their neighbors. Only 26% say they know most of them.

Improving a community starts small, and one of the best ways to improve a community is to strengthen its’ neighborhoods. Read below to learn about how to deepen bonds with your neighbors to create healthy, thriving neighborhoods!

Plan a Neighborhood Event

Who doesn’t love a good party? Hosting social events for your neighborhood opens the door to building relationships with the folks on your street. These events can be anything from huge block parties to small backyard gatherings, and anything in between.

Are you a movie buff? Get a projector and host a neighborhood movie night!

Maybe you’re a bookworm with overflowing bookshelves. In that case, organize a neighborhood book swap!

For the artistically inclined, a community mural or even a sidewalk chalk contest can bring people together! Creating a piece of art with your neighbors for your neighborhood to enjoy is a great way to create a sense of pride!

Inviting your neighbors for a shared meal is an easy way to bring communities closer together!

The upcoming 2024 solar eclipse will be a great way to get the neighborhood together – everyone in Wayne County will want to be there! Take a look at the Total Eclipse website to learn about what will be going on in our area and how your neighborhood can join in on the fun!

This list from the National Neighborhood Day has an exhaustive list of different activity ideas that you could use! The only limit is your own imagination.

Make the Introductions

You’ve likely heard the phrase, “be the change you wish to see in the world.” Neighborhoods are no exception! The only way to be sure that more than 57% of Americans know their neighbors is to get out there and make connections.

One simple way to start could be by bringing a welcome gift to new neighbors. It doesn’t have to be extravagant – maybe a meal or baked good – but the act itself is likely to make a lasting impression on your new neighbor! This is a great way to introduce yourself and tells the newcomers that they are welcome in their new community.

You don’t have to wait until someone new moves in, though. Saying hi to a neighbor you don’t normally talk to when you’re taking out the trash or walking the dog can build and strengthen those relationships in small ways.

Who knows – you and the person across the street might have a ton in common! You’ll never know unless you make the introduction.

Take Ownership of Where You Live

You have the power to improve your neighborhood! Simple acts like maintaining your yard, picking up trash, or helping to clear communal sidewalks doesn’t just improve your home, but the homes around yours as well.

If you notice that a neighbor is frequently at work and can’t mow their lawn, offer to help! Maybe that’s letting them borrow a mower or weed trimmer, or walking over and cutting it yourself (with permission, of course). Lending a helping hand to your neighbors every once in a while will lead to stronger bonds in the long term!

Lending a helping hand with yard work is only one of many ways you can be neighborly. You can check out our infographic on how to be a great neighbor on our website. It has plenty of tips on how you can sow the seeds for a strong neighborhood!

You can also take ownership of your community by sharing upcoming events that could benefit your neighbors. Wayne Union Recycle hosts regular document shredding events – and has one coming up on July 29th! Visit the WUR website to learn more.

Meaningful Change Takes Time

However you choose to start your journey of neighborhood development, nothing happens overnight. By making the effort, though, you’ll start to see ripple effects! Small, consistent acts of being a good neighbor will inspire others to follow suit. After all, we’re all in this together – sometimes it just takes one person to light the spark!

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