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Monthly Archives: December 2018

More Neighborly Communities

Front Porch Forum members report closer-knit communities.

“We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say ‘It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.’ Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.” ― Fred Rogers of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood

Lynn A. of Montpelier, Vt. says Front Porch Forum: discovering Vermont’s neighborly spirit, one glorious post at a time.”

FPF members report knowing and trusting more of their neighbors than national averages, resulting in closer-knit communities. Neighbors who know each other are more likely to lend a hand in times of need, whether it be loaning a pressure canner, larger-scaled community projects like organizing a foodbank, or emergency efforts.

FPF co-founder Michael Wood-Lewis shares that “when neighbors know each other and offer help or advice among each other, social capital accrues. FPF fosters real connections throughout networks of neighbors, and those ties bring genuine value to a community. Why buy a new ladder when you can borrow one from a neighbor?”

Front Porch Forum is a place where folks can learn their neighbors’ names and share hopes for the community and perspectives on local issues. The forum enables participants to familiarize and become informed online so that they can get out and have face-to-face discussions and take action offline. The result: optimism, unity, trust, and helping one another.

Stephanie Teleen, Neighbors Day VT organizer, uses Front Porch Forum to get the word out. She says “there are a few things you can count on in Vermont: beautiful scenery, ample snow, and Front Porch Forum. When Vermont became the first state in the country to celebrate Neighbor’s Day on June 2, 2018, FPF was the first and only statewide organization to help promote this event. Why? Because FPF knows the value of personal connection and communication within our communities. Neighbors Day happens once a year, but FPF works to connect neighbors every day, all year long. FPF is like a digital potluck with no cooking required! Being neighborly is paid forward in Vermont… to everyone’s benefit..”

*The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funded an independent third-party, Network Impact, to design, implement and analyze an online survey of 132,188 Front Porch Forum members in March 2017. 13,086 Vermonters completed this 20-minute survey. With a 99% confidence level, the survey results represent the full FPF membership.

**2015 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation National Survey of Health Attitudes


Heartfelt gratitude for our fire fighters

It’s witnessing these acts of neighborliness that has such an impact on FPF members.

“On a slushy, awful night, there was a grease fire in an apartment above Delish and The Quirky Pet. I got the call and rushed downtown to find our fire department walking through my wet shop as well as Delish where the water was literally crawling down the walls. This might sound trivial, but the concern they showed for the health and well being of my eleven parakeets in the aviary was extraordinary. All are healthy and present for because our fire department made sure my shop was powered up to remain warm and was smoke free before they left for the night. The same concern was shown for the well being of the dogs and cat in the apartments upstairs. Our fire fighters alongside my husband and me carried load after load of candy into my pet shop saving Delish’s livelihood. They didn’t have to join in on that.

It is really unfortunate that most of us don’t really notice the fire department until they are involved in a fire call. Montpelier’s fire department is a tightly run shop of really caring people who are very good at what they do. You don’t normally see them get mentioned in Front Porch Forum.

As a Montpelier business owner… and a resident of Montpelier as well, they have my heartfelt gratitude not only for what they did for Delish and my shop but for our upstairs residential neighbors as well on a very messy night weather-wise.”   • Richard in Montpelier


When the power is out, neighbors offer help

Those with the means to help their community did so on Front Porch Forum!

“The school will be open as an emergency shelter. If you or someone you know might need a warm place to stay or a source of water, you are welcome to take shelter in the school’s multi-purpose room. Please bring sleeping bags, food and any supplies you need. You are welcome to fill your own water containers in the kitchen.”  • Principal, Robinson Elementary School

“While parts of town are without power, we want to let everyone know if they need to get fresh water, charge a phone, use the WiFi, or just hang out in the light/warmth, they are welcome here. We are happy to open our doors to community members during this inconvenient time.”  • Priscilla at Quarry Hill Farm

“If you are a local who is out of power, you are more then welcome to come here for a shower!”
Erin at The Climb Fitness Center

“We have space in a chest freezer if you are out of power and want to save some of your freezer goods.” • Lisa in Richmond

 


America is suffering an epidemic of loneliness

A recent opinion piece in the New York Times had us reflecting on how Front Porch Forum works to bridge loneliness.

Photo credit: John Taggart for The New York Times

“Each of us can be happier, and America will start to heal when we become the kind neighbors and generous friends we wish we had.”  • Arthur C. Brooks for the New York Times

FPF‘s community-centric framework has created a powerful norm of neighborliness that builds enduring social ties.