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Category Archives: Neighborhood

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



Helping our neighbors after snow storms

With winter storm Bruce hitting New England, Front Porch Forum members prepare to help

“I came across one of our elderly neighbors out shoveling by hand and having a hard go of it. I stopped to meet her and finish it up for her, and she was lamenting that none of her neighbors who she’s known for many many years offered to help, even the ones with snowblowers. I asked if she was on FPF and she reported she didn’t have a computer or internet. We had a nice talk while we worked together, about her church and spiritual understanding, and community and our collective cultural woes as we all retreat more and more behind our screens.

It was a sweet connection, and I felt well paid by the companionship and exercise. So now I’m back home behind my screen again, reaching out to my neighbors and inviting you all to come out after storms, and see what we can do together to help out our neighbors!  • Ark in So. Burlington


Thankful for our neighbors

What a wonderful use of Front Porch Forum!

“In loving memory of our son, Edward, my husband and I are preparing Thanksgiving Dinner for community members in need. We are also happy to provide the ingredients for a delicious dinner for families who would prefer to cook it themselves. Todd and I will be delivering the hot meals between 11 and 12 on Thanksgiving Day. Edward Heyman’s Soup’s On program will be funding the meals.”  • Sandra in Huntington

“A magical story of giving: A gentleman asked if he could join me at the cafe, since there were no tables available…I was writing lots of lists for making holiday meal boxes. He asked what I was doing, I explained, then he asked if he could make a donation, and of course, I said yes!  I was thinking a couple bucks, and he handed me a 100 dollar bill!! I handed it back, saying that was too much, and his response was “I have food, please use this to help others.”  I had a smile on my face all day!”  • Karen in Worcester

“We should be thankful for having an opportunity to express ourselves in a non threatening environment. Most all of us have families and we should take this time to give thanks to them, our community and to FPF for giving us another way to share and benefit.” • J. in Barre

Happy Thanksgiving from FPF!


Return of the Battalion Stallion

Front Porch Forum members can be very creative with their postings!  Witness this humorous exchange:

“What a disgrace. I’ve never in my three years of living here been more disgusted with the State of Things. No more Battalion Stallion on the Country Store menu? Was there even a vote? Together we can right this wrong. Join me and the growing ranks of outraged citizens and help restore this town treasure to the once-great menu.”  • Ben in Jericho

“As both creator and destroyer of the Battalion Stallion panini, I offer my deepest, most profound sympathy for the loss of your beloved sandwich. It indeed was a stalwart of our menu for many years here. It filled up many a weary traveler on his or her way to gastric heaven. Alas, along came newer sandwiches and the Stallion became a lost pony. But only the forgotten are truly lost, as they say. This is ‘Merica, and despite our differences we can find common ground. All it takes is a good conversation and a hilarious FPF post. So, although we won’t put it back on the menu, you can stop by or call and order it. We’ll make it for you! Long live the Stallion! Hooah.”  • Jon at the Jericho Center Country Store

 


A musical bond is formed on FPF

Here’s a special story of how FPF helped musicians form a neighborhood connection that still endures:

“Brit, whose family had recently moved from out west, used Front Porch Forum to see if anyone would be interested in getting together occasionally to play guitar and make music.  a few of us took her up on her offer, and we hit it off.  Almost 6 years – and many farmer’s markets & events – later, our meetings have become something very special to each of us.  We named ourselves the “Front Porch Foursome”, in honor of our origin.  We all still have our day jobs, but cherish the adventure this has taken us on.  Aside from our good fortune, we appreciate the forum that you have provided for our community, and for all of Vermont.”  • Brit, Nancy, Kathy & Char – the Front Porch Foursome

How will you use FPF to form friendships?


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.


The Great Monday Night Dog Chase

It’s not uncommon to hear wild tales of animal chases and gracious shout outs on Front Porch Forum, but it never gets old!

“Thank you to everyone who helped, offered to assist, pointed us in the right direction, or simply wished us luck as we chased the very fast and wily “Rolo the dog” all over our fair city after he escaped while we were dog-sitting. His jaunt included most of North Street (twice), Spring Street, all of Weaver Street, the Winooski Circle, the Casavant trail, and ended on Platt Street.

A special thanks to Ben for assisting with our pursuit on his moped; to all of the folks who donned headlamps and searched on foot; to the kind couple on Platt Street who found one very exhausted pup in their driveway and called the Winooski PD; and to the Winooski Police Department for their kindness and prompt attention. And lastly, our sincere apologies to anyone who was offended by a silver Subaru that was driving in a less-than-courteous manner as we tried to keep Rolo the Escapee in our sights.

Rolo is home safe and sound, and we are grateful for such a caring community! ” – Charlotte A. & Chris in Winooski


Appreciation for the splendor around us

A neighbor shares his love of a local trail on Front Porch Forum.

“I took my first ride under forest canopy, between wildflower meadows in full bloom with our native species, flushed out flocks of Goldfinch, travelled past pond and wildlife on paths in excellent condition. See vineyard and mountain peaks colored by the sunset and get away from it all right here!” • Larry in Charlotte

Thanks for the reminder to get out and explore where we live!