#BTV #VT – We have our loaner dog Toby back thanks to FPF and the the watchful eye of FPF’er Ryan. Thanks again Ryan. A much happier Christmas is on the way now.
We tried three things to find our missing dog: the manual posting of dozens of LOST DOG signs around town; implementing my wife’s substantial Facebook network; and a simple yet desperate posting on FPF. Front Porch Forum came through again! So grateful to have this. Thank you for this wonderful, effective community resource!
#VT – Pat asked her neighbors in Middlesex for tips this week. Today she shared this follow up…
Front Porch Forum sure is an effective way to get information. I got about 20 helpful responses to my question about smoke detectors. Thanks and happy holidays!
#VT – Many thanks to the Stowe Front Porch Forum for making it possible to form a New Book Circle in Stowe. Nine bright and wonderful women from a variety of backgrounds and interests came together Dec. 17 for a meet and greet @ Crops Restaurant.
That’s the ticket! Shoshana shared with neighbors on FPF that their next book is The Light Between Oceans.
#VT – Posted on the Cambridge Front Porch Forum a few days ago…
Our daughter is a VISTA (Volunteers in Service To America) for United Way in Washington state this year. Today someone left a note on her car (Vermont Registration). The note writer’s child has been collecting old automobile license plates from all over the country, and has them all, except Vermont! If anyone has an old Vermont number plate, and wants to make a stranger smile, give me a call. I’ll pick it up and get it to Washington. Thanks, Howard and Sue
And then they shared this follow-up today…
A couple of issues ago I posted a note asking for the donation of an expired Vermont license plate to complete the 50 state collection of a child in Washington state, where our daughter, Allison got a request from a stranger. The response was way more than we anticipated: we got almost a dozen calls and emails from folks here in Lamoille County offering to part with their old number plates just to make a stranger’s child smile.
We quickly learned that this young man is in the Ronald McDonald house near Olympia, ill with leukemia, and that his 12th birthday is Dec. 19. The first three plates we collected were shipped to arrive in time for the party. From our daughter about the pick up: “She was crying and hugged me, and said she just couldn’t believe it. She gave me a Starbucks gift card. She was beside herself, and said her friends’ son would be so, so happy! His birthday is tomorrow.”
So Thank You!!! To all of you who took the time to get involved in this tiny but thoughtful generosity. The take-away here is that it takes so little to brighten someone’s day. We should all try to be more mindful of the possibilities inherent in the most casual but heartfelt acts of kindness. And when we do, we’re all the better for trying. Thanks again, Howard and Sue
And they’re not alone… ABC22/Fox44 local news covered a Burlington break-in via FPF this week, and the Burlington Free Press, VPR, WCAX, and many community newspaper frequently turn to FPF.
We love it. FPF helps local traditional media find story leads. And we help grow the audience for the stories that they report. We’ve heard many times from FPF members who rarely tuned into local news before signing up for their Front Porch Forums… and now they pay more attention to community issues. Strong and vibrant local media… it’s crucial for our democracy and we’re honored to play our role.
UPDATE: Just saw these tweets…
#VT – From the Economist…
AMERICANS are still famously neighbourly (especially compared to Europeans) but they’re getting less so. A new book released last week, “Social Trends in American Life”, sees a group of prominent American social scientists presenting and explaining the results of the General Social Survey an ongoing study that has regularly recorded and tracked changes in social attitudes and make-up since the early 1970s…
For the most part, the results are unsurprising… But one trend in the pattern of American social life is curious: Americans have never been less likely to be friends with their neighbours than before. In 1974, 44% of respondents said that they had spent a social evening with neighbours more than once a month. By 2008, that number had dropped to a tick over 30%. Over the course of the study’s existence, the number has been dropping consistently.
The effect is not quite uniform. The likelihood of socialising with neighbours more than once a month declines with age but levels off among the middle-aged before a brief fillip among the elderly. By way of contrast, there have been steady increases in the number of people who socialise with friends (43%) or relatives (60%) more than once a month. Moreover, it is highly dependent on location. People in rural areas are much more likely to spend time with their neighbours than those in urban areas. Residents of suburbs exhibit the lowest level of neighbourliness…
How social interaction conditions political outcomes is not always clear. In 2000, Robert Putnam, a Harvard sociologist, made waves with his book, “Bowling Alone”. His concern was that civic life in America was fast disappearing and that this would have dire political consequences. Fewer people were members of community or social associations, a trend made most visible by the prevalence of people bowling alone rather than in teams or leagues. Countries that lack a dense network of civic life are often undemocratic or poorly governed as citizens have less regard for each other.
The primary culprit here is suburbanisation. Suburban life for most Americans is far from the bed-hopping intrigues depicted in “Desperate Housewives”. Instead, big houses, wide streets and lengthy commutes reduce the chance of running into neighbours, let alone becoming friends. Technology too has made staying in contact with friends and relatives easier than in the past, decreasing the need or time available to meet those over the fence. Just as voters can tailor their media diet to avoid unwanted opinions they can now calibrate their friendships to avoid those with the wrong opinions.
This jibes with our experience hosting Front Porch Forum across Vermont.
#VT – How do Bristol folks use their Front Porch Forum? Here’s a request Martha posted for her neighbors a week ago…
Looking for scrap fabric to make bags to be hung on walkers. RSVP has just sent me their pattern and I’m willing to make bags for them to pass on to hospitals and nursing homes. Most of my scraps are too lightweight. The fabric needs to be heavier than quilters’ cotton. Denim would be good. Or corduroy. Please let me know if you have any that you’d be willing to part with.
And she shared this update today…
A huge thank you to the three ladies who donated fabric for making walker bags. Your generosity is so appreciated! Seven bags completed and six more are just steps away. I’ll deliver them to RSVP on Friday and I’m sure they’ll easily find homes for them.
#VT – Bad news posted on the Cambridge Front Porch Forum:
The Ornament Studio was robbed last night. How do you wrap your head around this? The loss reaches beyond the actual stolen items. It changes something intangible.
Followed by this gem of good news:
I was at the school Tuesday afternoon picking up my great grandson and visiting with a mother of one of the students that used to ride my bus, as her son came down the hall he saw me and started running to me calling my name , he gave me a huge hug told me how much he missed me, he told me he and his father were selling Christmas trees again this year and he wanted to give me a tree, he kept telling me that he really wanted to give me a tree , in the meantime the tears begin to flow for the wonderful thoughtful thing he wanted to do for me , so Sat. morning I am driving to Simons store at the end of the 289 and 2A to get my tree . This is especially wonderful as I did not have the money for a tree this year, I will never forget this special young person and his Christmas gift to me. Thank you Douglas I LOVE YOU, you are a very special young man. -Barb
#VT – Sadly, I will soon be selling my large house in the village. I very much want to stay right here. If you are selling, or know of anybody who is or might be selling a small (2 bedroom?) house or condo in Richmond Village, please contact me. Thank you.”
Posted by Joanna on the Richmond Front Porch Forum. The next day, she received from Christy…
Hi Joanna – We have a 2 bedroom townhouse that we love, but that we will eventually outgrow. We’ve been looking for homes in the village… we’d love to stay here. Have you already sold your house?
Joanna shared with us just today…
I am thrilled to report that, two months after my initial FPF posting, I purchased the townhouse and Christy and her family purchased my home. Amazingly we each found the perfect home and we were able to sell our homes without ever putting them on the market. Thank you, Front Porch Forum!
#VT – Wow, Front Porch Forum is powerful. I received many responses to my posting for a pet sitter within an hour. Thank you to all who responded. We found a sitter!
Posted today by Dean on the Underhill FPF.