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Category Archives: Community Building

Helping Older Vermonters Age Well!

Every day, neighbors connect on Front Porch Forum to post and read about events, community issues, and local goings on. Read about how Vermont neighbors and FPF have helped older Vermonters to Age Well below.

If you’ve noticed Front Porch Forum making a difference in your community, consider becoming a supporting member today by donating here.

 

“Thank You to Front Porch Forum for Helping Older Vermonters Age Well!

Aging well requires community.  Neighbors assisting neighbors to accomplish the necessities of life – maintaining social connections, securing ample and healthy food, having the mobility to address life tasks such as keeping medical appointments.

Helping make this happen for older adults in Northwestern Vermont (Franklin, Addison, Chittenden and Grand Isle counties), is the core purpose of the regional nonprofit and Area Agency on Aging organization, Age Well (www.agewellvt.org).  Instrumental in accomplishing our mission is our cadre of dedicated volunteers. Each week over 850 of our aging neighbors will receive at least one meal, primarily as part of our Meals on Wheels program, with over 5,000 meals served weekly. In additionAge Well’s volunteers serve as Senior Companions and Friendly Visitors to ensure that isolation, transportation and assistance with daily living tasks are not barriers to living life to the fullest. These programs are only possible through the efforts of our incredible volunteers, now numbering over 1,100.

So what does this have to do with the Front Porch Forum? Consistently, the most productive resource for Age Well volunteer recruitment has been the FPF. As demand for Meals on Wheels has increased, so has our need for finding volunteers.  During times of greatest recruitment need, the FPF team has gone the extra mile to assist in finding new volunteers, putting into action the spirit of community that is the essence of Front Porch Forum.

For the hundreds who are served by the scores of individuals who found their way to become Age Well volunteers through the FPF, we simply want to offer a sincere shout out. The Front Porch Forum is truly a remarkable community treasure.”

-Kim H., Age Well Board Chair from Mallets Bay


Let’s pick for our neighbors this apple harvest season

The Vermont Foodbank reminds us to visit one of Vermont’s orchards this season and Pick for Your Neighbor!   Front Porch Forum is pleased to sponsor this yearly initiative to help our neighbors.  So let’s work together to help increase the amount of fresh produce available for Vermonter’s facing hunger and support our local orchards.  To see a list of participating orchards visit https://www.vtfoodbank.org/event/pickforyourneighbor


Better Informed Communities

Front Porch Forum Members Trust Their Neighbors.

 “When it comes to informing neighbors, was there really life before FPF?”  “Our community garden is thriving in its 4th season, largely because gardeners and supportive community members heard about it on Front Porch Forum. On FPF, we learn what our neighbors are thinking and doing. We participate in offerings we wouldn’t otherwise have known about. We avoid hazards we might have stumbled into if uninformed. We sell, buy, and give all manner of goods and services. I look forward to reading every issue. My responses range among curious, amused, concerned, angry, delighted, relieved, gobsmacked, inspired, and more. It takes a lot of worthy content to stimulate so much response repeatedly over time.”  • Sheryl in Montpelier

Connecting with neighbors and building local community begins with being better informed. FPF stimulates that in spades. Neighbors who use Front Porch Forum to communicate are more aware of who lives around them, stay better informed about what’s happening in their communities, and are more prepared to face challenges and times of crisis.

“FPF exists to help communities become more resilient,” says FPF co-founder, Michael Wood-Lewis. “Neighbors who know each other and communicate about what’s happening locally are far more likely to be better prepared to face tough times.”

You’ve got to know that a local issue is bubbling up if you’re going to be involved. For many Vermonters, that starts on their neighborhood or town FPF. Even knowing about the weekend’s yard sales or school sporting events via FPF leads people to getting more face-to-face time with neighbors.This leads to more connection and more involvement. Get on the local grapevine. Sign up for your local FPF. Read, and then share your perspective in a posting to neighbors.

Bree, librarian at the Westford Public Library, uses Front Porch Forum regularly to reach their patrons. From updates, special event notices and library closings, she finds FPF “reliable and easy to use. FPF is the social media outlet that reaches different generations of patrons – appealing to the whole town rather than a certain demographic or “friend” group.”

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.


A community gathering place

“I am so grateful to Front Porch ForumIt strikes me how casually we use this gathering place, how satisfying it is even if we’re just looking for a Phillip’s head screwdriver, and how much more important many of our needs and generosity and community support have become.

And the tenderness of this community always comes through.

But it does need a forum, and thankfully we have one.

I just expressed my gratitude by pledging a monthly donation to keep it all going. When you think of what we receive; the discussions we have; the friends we make; the help that comes our way, it does seem appropriate to say thank you.”
• 
Tami in Montpelier

And we are grateful for our FPF members as well!


Vermont band making noise in libraries

FPF happily supports the Book of Zoo Library Benefit Tour, now in the middle of their two-month tour performing at 13 rural libraries this Summer. Come hear some great music and support our rural public libraries, an important part of our communities! All donations from the concerts go to support literacy programs for the hosting library.

“As the public storehouse of knowledge, the public library can be viewed as a free society’s insurance that all ideas will be accessible to everyone who may want them. Ideas and information are certainly available elsewhere, but no other agency or organization can guarantee such a wide accessibility to ideas of all kinds that will be free of charge to all its customers.” • Librarian at the Arvin A. Brown Public library in Richford

“I was totally unprepared for the outpouring of cards, gifts, sweet wishes, reminiscences, and hugs that have come my way as my tenure as librarian has come to an end with my retirement! I am on Front Porch Forum to say: thank you all for your wonderful kindness and generosity, and for the joy of being allowed to love your children for all these years!” • Lynne in Middlesex

Post thanks to your own librarian(s) on FPF!


Neighborhood surveys bring communities together

From community projects to block parties, many are using surveys on Front Porch Forum:

“Just a quick reminder to take the White Church survey – what do you want the church to become? Let’s hear peoples ideas!”  • Eric in Westford

“In an effort to strengthen the safety and health of our neighborhood, we have created a survey to get a sense of what people would like to see updated or improved, and what people might be able to do to help make these things happen.” • Kate and Matt in South Burlington

“Is there any interest in having a casual neighborhood social / block party to get to know each other? Willing to do most of the legwork organizing if others are interested. I put together this survey, and hope you’ll take a minute to fill it out and let me know!” • Sara in South Burlington

“We recently did a survey and FPF came in as one of the most reliable sources of info for seniors.” • Patricia in Winooski

Want to get your neighbors input through FPF? Here’s how:

STEPS:

  1. Create a survey. Research which platform will work best for your needs.
  2. Create a post with a link to the survey on FPF. Explain the intent of the survey.
  3. Post a reminder post prior to your deadline for input.
  4. Have others in the neighborhood also post reminders.
  5. Check the share box to include neighboring towns if appropriate.

Knitting together a community at the parade

FPF members remind us of the importance of in person connections.

“I’d love to see a float or section of the parade for NEW IN TOWN residents. How much fun would it be to meet babies born in the last year as well as any new families and other residents who moved here in the past 12 months or so!!! We could introduce ourselves during the after-parade festivities. Not all of us have the format of school activities for getting to know others, and using this idea would create another opportunity for knitting together our community.” • Susan in Westford

Have your own idea to share on meeting new people in town? Share on Front Porch Forum.


Young bicyclists helped by neighbors

Letting others know when we witness random acts of kindness on Front Porch Forum has a profound impact on how we feel about our communities.

“I saw a little boy riding his bike carrying some sports equipment. He lost his balance and fell over. This random car saw it happen, pulled over and stopped to see if the boy was ok (he was). In a time when we’re so divided, it’s nice to witness these moments as a reminder that there is good in the world and that we live in a great community that cares about each other.”  • Katrina in Waterbury

“I saw a young boy fall off his bicycle today. He seemed a bit shaken, but he picked himself up as two vehicles approached. Both drivers stopped to make sure the kiddo was okay. The man in the truck even took time to pull over, get out, check the bike, dust the kid off and help him get back on the bike. Witnessing this small act of kindness warmed my heart and made me feel grateful to be part of this community.” • Wendy in Bristol

Share on FPF when you witness neighborly acts.



FPF Co-founder to Speak in Bennington

Front Porch Forum co-founder and CEO, Michael Wood-Lewis will speak in Bennington on June 21 at the Bennington Museum as part of The Lightning Jar Leadership Speaker Series. Come join us and hear how Front Porch Forum is helping to change conversations in our communities.

This Speaker Series brings entrepreneurs and business leaders to Bennington from all over to tell their stories about building and growing businesses in Vermont. The Lightning Jar is Bennington’s entrepreneurial hub and professional development community.

For more information on our upcoming visit to Bennington, click here.