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Category Archives: Community Building

Organizing a Repair Cafe

We love this idea undertaken by Front Porch Forum members. Doing something good for the environment and building social contacts!

“Do you need something fixed? Come to the first ever Repair Cafe. Start collecting your household items to be fixed at this FREE event. We have fixers willing to work on watches and replace watch batteries, bicycles, clothing, knitting projects, electric appliances, small office equipment, furniture, small engines, lamps, tools (including sharpening) and electrical gadgets. And we even have someone willing to tutor you with your smart phone!” • Cathy in Charlotte

“One of the “fixperts” reinforced my eyeglass frames. This may save me having to buy a whole new pair of frames (very expensive!). Thank you. What a wonderful event!” • Lucy in Plainfield

“I was fortunate to have a loose jacket zipper secured, a broken hoe handle extracted, a few pair of earrings brought back to life and iPhone issues resolved. I witnessed holes in sweaters and coats mended; a chainsaw, sewing machines and lamps fixed; and blades sharpened and that was just in the short hour I was there. What a great event to connect with community members while bringing back to life items that would have been needlessly discarded.” • Judy in Charlotte

Here’s how you can do the same in your neighborhood:

STEPS:

  1. Post to organize several neighbors to volunteer making repairs. Suggest the idea of a “Repair Cafe” and seek a place to hold the event.
  2. Post an announcement two weeks prior to the event to invite neighbors in need of repairs AND to encourage volunteer help.
  3. Post a reminder message three days before.
  4. Choose the “Event” category so that your posting also shows up in the FPF Community Calendar.
  5. Check the share box to include neighboring towns.

“Repair is possible, and often not that difficult, with a little bit of community support.” — The Repair Café Foundation


A variety of ideas to build community connections

Front Porch Forum members reach out to their neighbors to come together in their community:

If you are looking for more plants for your garden, come to the Neighborhood Plant Swap! This is a free plant give-away, neighbor to neighbor.” • Melanie in Burlington

“Join your friends, neighbors, and fellow residents to share YOUR vision for the future of our town. The Vermont Council on Rural Development will facilitate a Community Visit Day to ask ALL residents about opportunities, challenges, and ideas for action for the community.” • Pat in Wallingford

“There have been discussions regarding a community center to serve the needs of our diverse population. Perhaps you’d like to participate in such a conversation? If yes please get back to me through this forum and we’ll see where it leads.” • Rolf in Hinesburg

“Any other new moms/parents out there interested in getting together to share parenting advice and ideas or just have a cup of coffee with babies in tow?”   Anna in Bristol

“Looking to meet other working professionals in their 20’s-30’s. Take turns hosting potlucks with different themes?”  Laura in Waterbury

“Wouldn’t it be fun to have a series of story-telling events? We’d hear stories from our friends, neighbors, family and strangers: real people, telling true stories from the heart. A great way to build community spirit and get to know each other better.”  Sherril in Randolph

Have an idea to connect with your neighbors? Reach out on FPF!


In-person conversations lift the spirit

Front Porch Forum members spend time connecting with their neighbors in person.

“Waiting at the DMV I met Mr Congeniality himself: 4-year old Isaac. He and I quickly struck up a friendly conversation. He was thoughtful and creative and funny. And to be honest, I’ve had a pretty crummy week otherwise, but chatting with that bright-eyed kid was a lovely distraction.” • Morgen in Montpelier

Let’s start being more real, more in-person. Stop living so much of life in cyberspace. Commit to replacing some screen time with real time. Quality time. Our world will be better as a result of every in-person connection we have.” • John in Barre

“With all the sad news happening around the world, I just feel the strong desire to spread happiness & positivity, and Front Porch Forum seems the perfect place to do it!” • Elaine in Northfield

Feel free to continue spreading happiness on FPF!



Vermont’s bright and confident future generation of women!

Front Porch Forum believes in supporting important community causes, and nothing is more important to us than the health and well-being of the next generation.

We are excited to once again partner with Girls on the Run Vermont for their 2018 season! As proud supporters, we are helping girls in our community become Vermont’s bright and confident future generation of women!

The 5K community celebrations across the state mark the successful completion of a 10-week Girls on the Run Spring program and is unlike any other running event.

FPF is so proud to support our Vermont girls on their journey to self-confidence. Since 1999, Girls on the Run Vermont has inspired over 44,000 girls at more than 160 sites in 13 Vermont counties. This year alone, over 3,000 girls are participating in the 10-week, after-school program. Interactive lessons that integrate physical fitness help girls to effectively problem solve and remain strong during adolescence. Topics include self-image and the media, resisting peer-pressure, making healthy decisions and contributing to the community.

Our support of the Girls on the Run 5K helps further the mission of the Vermont council, an organization that encourages the young women in our community to grow up with confidence, compassion, and character. We are invested in growing the next generation of strong, skilled, and healthy leaders – the future role models in communities all over Vermont.

Learn more about Girls on the Run Vermont by visiting gotrvt.org.


A matter of trust

A recent article from the Times Argus highlights findings from FPF survey work done in 2017.

“Members of Front Porch Forum, who are not anonymous and make a commitment to be part of the online community, are comforted by the engagement of others. Perhaps at a time when contention is rampant, the sense of community, even online, is enough of a connection for members to feel a level of comfort and trust. 

Community building takes various forms, whether that be public suppers, music, theater or meetings and discussion groups. Vermonters have always taken great pride in being good neighbors. Now we can take stock in knowing that being part of the community, even online, has merits that go far beyond chasing down lost dogs or finding a place to stay for a friend. It still means we connect.”

To read more, visit https://www.timesargus.com/articles/a-matter-of-trust/


We need … neighbors.

FPF friend and journalist Bill McKibben recently wrote a compelling article on why we need neighbors.  Here’s a nugget:

“Neighbors were optional for much of the last 50 years. We became hyper-individualists—surveys show that three-quarters of Americans have no relationship with their next-door neighbors, which is a novel situation for humans. But in the next 50 years, we’re going to need our neighbors again. The fat years are past and the lean years are upon us—even as we try to rebuild our planet against the predations of the rich and powerful, we’re going to require stronger communities for sheer survival. Ask the people trying to recover from Hurricane Harvey, from Maria, from the firestorm that raked California.”  –  Feb. 2018 Sojourners magazine

This speaks to our work.  Hosting Front Porch Forum across Vermont over the past decade, we’ve seen the value of neighbors during and after natural disasters and other crises.

Build your local networks of neighbors now, and then you’ll have that investment in social capital to fall back on in times of need in the future.


Furniture found for family in need

Neighbors reach out through FPF to help a family:

“When we posted a request for help for a family of four, many people came through right away. Today we were able to deliver a mattress, a dresser, and a chair to them. They are very grateful. And, we are thankful for this generous community. Front Porch Forum is great.”
• Margaret and George in Middlebury

 

Know someone who could use a helpful hand? Turn to your neighbors on FPF!


Curling to support the Howard Center

Front Porch Forum is participating in Howard Center’s 2018 Curling Challenge to help raise money for the many Howard Center programs and services that support people in our community. Some of these include:

• 24/7/365 Crisis services
• Residential programs
• Specialized schools
• Street outreach
• Substance use treatment & recovery
• Suicide prevention
• Therapeutic camps

 

By contributing to our fundraising efforts on behalf of Howard Center, you will be making a real and lasting difference within our community. Follow This Link to donate now and help in our efforts to support Howard Center!


Uplifting moments after fires destroy homes

Recent fires, while tragic, also remind us how generous our communities can be helping those in need. FPF members respond:

“The fire at my home took almost everything from me. Despite my losses, I will be able to remember it as one of the most uplifting moments as well due to the outpouring of generosity, kindness, and love from the Montpelier Community. Never have I felt more cared for, or supported.” • Lauren in Montpelier

“Big Thanks to all the folks who worked their frozen fingers to the bone making it possible to save our store, library and community. If you see or know a Fire department Volunteer, please share your gratitude for keeping our town/village intact. This includes our Village and town employees as well. Thanks to all of you who reached out, stepped up, and pitched in; it’s what makes our town resilient and a place we want to live.” • Kim in Johnson

Front Porch Forum members respond to a call for help for a family who’s house was completely destroyed:
“I would like to thank everyone for the tremendous generosity and support. Knowing the love and support the community has shown is greatly helping them through this tragic time. Let us use this as a reminder to always reach out and help our neighbors.” 
• Heidi in Monkton