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common ground

common ground

It Takes a Village to Build a Community

When it comes to real estate, location often tops the list. But finding the right fit can go beyond a scenic setting or preferred school district. It’s the people that truly make a place. There’s something so charming about a small town, where everybody knows your name. Having a tight-knit community adds value to a physical location with an emotional connection among those who live and work there.

Even a densely populated area can have residents, leaders, and business owners with strong ties that create a sense of solidarity. In a communal space, it benefits everyone when neighbors support each other and come together for social events like parades. Here is some of what it takes to make your community shine.

Meet and Greet.

Building a community starts with simple acts. Check on your neighbors to see how they’re doing, especially during pandemic times when many feel isolated and have been separated from family and friends. Volunteering for a local organization or starting your own association like a neighborhood watch group or a clean-up committee can make a difference and lead to more introductions.

Talking Points.

One person can get the ball rolling toward a more unified atmosphere with communication that builds a community where kids play together, folks wave from their front porches, and people chat it up in local parks. When there is open dialogue, neighbors can ask to borrow a cup of sugar or coordinate a yard sale for the whole neighborhood. Pertinent information about the area can be posted and shared on apps like Nextdoor to keep everyone in the loop.

Happy Together.

Many cities and towns have amenities, from local parks and centers, to grocery stores and other retailers that can be natural connectors for residents. By supporting local businesses, people can keep them afloat and encourage future growth. Buying products and services from sources close to home also helps build bridges with those who have chosen to invest in your community. In turn, these establishments might be more likely to donate gift cards and goods to area fundraisers.

Greater Good.

Wherever you choose to live, you already share something in common with the people who picked the same location, so it should be easy to find others who have a passion for keeping it up to speed. Caring for your community through ongoing conversations and efforts for proper upkeep, recreational activities, and safety can go a long way toward bringing everyone together and enhancing your surroundings.

Fresh Start.

Spot a problem? Consider being part of the solution. Talk to others to see what may be lacking in your area like a dog park or summer camp and speak to local leaders to see what it would take to create them. Behind every community asset is a person who had the vision to see it through. It doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking; it can be as simple as starting a welcome committee for new neighbors.

Special Touches.

Any shared space has the potential to connect people. A little recognition like a beautification award for a neighborhood can get those who live there working in unison toward the same goal. In some areas, a Little Free Library can be a great way for people to donate and take secondhand books that inspire future generations of readers and community leaders.

Written by Jeanine Matlow. Photography by Rawpixel/iStock/Getty Images Plus.

Organizing a 
Community Event.

All Together Now. Be inclusive, keep it simple, and consider supporting a good cause by hosting a fundraiser for a local animal shelter or organization in need.

Check Please. Know your budget. Ask if people are willing to bring a dish to share or let you borrow costly supplies like tables and tents.

Team Spirit. Organizing a community event is a big commitment. Getting others to pitch in can help people get acquainted before the party gets started.

Spread the Word. Talk up your plans in advance and keep those social media posts coming to build excitement for your neighborhood yard sale, block party, or potluck.

Take a Poll. Find out what matters to those around you. Some might prefer a casual barbecue while others have a unique theme in mind.

Check the Forecast. Plan for the weather or rent a pavilion at a local park and make sure you have a safe place for kids (and for pets if they are welcome).

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