Vermonters have always helped neighbors whose homes burn. And with Front Porch Forum at their disposal, this response can easily increase 10 or 100 fold.
Here’s an example from this week in Winooski from the Burlington Free Press…
The Winooski School District has raised over $4,000 so far as part of a fundraiser for the victims of an apartment fire that displaced 21 city residents last Thursday night, Superintendant Sean McMannon said. Six students were directly affected and displaced by the Malletts Bay Avenue blaze while two other students had family members who were affected, McMannon said. The Winooski district offices are collecting cash and check donations only, according to McMannon…
McMannon said Wednesday that the fundraiser had begun the day after the fire, and the district has mainly gotten word out through its website, a post on the Front Porch Forum website, and through emails within the school…
Since Thanksgiving, 21 families and 60 people have been displaced from their homes because of fires, according to a newsrelease issued by the Vermont and the New Hampshire Upper Valley Region Red Cross Wednesday. The Red Cross, who assisted in relief efforts for the victims Thursday, said fire is “the disaster most likely to befall someone in our region.”
[C]ity manager Katherine “Deac” Decarreau said Winooski citizens have been “extraordinarily generous.” “The generosity is overwhelming, and from all areas from the community,” Decarreau said. “It’s really heartwarming.”
Donations to victims of the Malletts Bay Avenue apartment fire can be sent to JFK, Main Lobby, Middle School-High School or District or mailing to WSD, 60 Normand Street, Winooski, VT 05404. Checks can be made out to: WSD-MBA Fire Support.
Caroling is one of our few remaining traditions where it’s acceptable to go door-to-door in your neighborhood and engage neighbors. Trick-or-treating… student fund-raisers… campaigning during election season… it’s a short list.
Our neighbor and local photographer, Carolyn Bates, has been organizing Caroling on Caroline Street with Carolyn for 20+ years… and it’s always a treat. Last night’s snowfall set the perfect scene. Thanks Carolyn et al.!
Vermonters in Manchester are talking about their new Front Porch Forum. Posted today…
I have been a fan of Front Porch Forum since I first heard about it several years ago, when it started in the Burlington area. At the time, I was working for The Orton Family Foundation, and we at the Foundation were developing, testing, and advocating for a wide range of community building tools. FPF was in its early stages, but already winning awards, including one I think from the Foundation.
When I am not at home in Manchester, I spend a lot of time in Lyme, New Hampshire, a community that has its own “listserve” – not technically an FPF, but certainly similar. Daily people are looking for something, selling or giving away something, looking for service, seeking lost pets, finding ride-shares, announcing meetings, inviting people to events, etc, etc. I imagine that FPF in Manchester can and will develop into the same sort of well appreciated and powerful local communication tool. In addition to meeting this sort of individual need, the listserve enables lively discussions on community topics….for example, a current topic in Lyme has to do with whether the community should or should not have a skating surface on the common, the related issues, and who is willing step up to maintain it.
At the moment, I have nothing to sell or give away, nor am I looking for a service, but for sure I will post a note when I need to. I am, however, encouraging my friends to join, and I hope you will too. The more people involved, the more powerful the site will be. For those of you who are looking for something or have something to sell or give away, go ahead and post it to get the ball rolling!
Followed by this posting from Linda:
Your post regarding Front Porch Forum was well said and received. I too was living in the Burlington area when FPF was in its infancy and enjoyed hearing about neighborhood yard sales, items for sale, and other general neighborhood news. To my knowledge, nothing inappropriate ever made it to my desktop and it was easy to communicate back and forth with someone seeking a service or product that I might be able to supply. Looking forward to hearing from others in our neighborhood soon.
Vermont towns in the Upper Valley, as well as the Northeast Kingdom, now all have access Front Porch Forum.
Please share the news with folks you know in these parts of the Green Mountain State, including St. Johnsbury, White River Junction, Royalton, and many other locations.
People use FPF in other parts of Vermont to share catamount sightings (really!), recommend snow plow drivers, find lost cats, report break-ins, sell cars, give away dressers, and much more. And now every Vermont community has its own FPF to do the same.
Please join at http://frontporchforum.com
Live in Montpelier or Barre? Know folks who do? Please send one and all to FrontPorchForum.com to check out FPF and sign up.
This fall, thanks to the Vermont Council on Rural Development and other partners, FPF has been able to bring its community building service to Vermont’s Capital region… and to the entire state.
Vermonters use FPF to connect with neighbors about snow plow recommendations, babysitters, finding lost cell phones, reporting break-ins, selling snow tires, sharing moose sightings and much more.
Please help us spread the news… we depend on word of mouth. Send people to http://FrontPorchForum.com. Thanks!
FPF helps neighbors connect by hosting online local forums. More than 60,000 Vermont households subscribe across every town in the state.
Front Porch Forum is now available in Rutland and Middlebury, Vermont! Please check it out and tell your friends, family and other contacts there to sign up this week.
In other Vermont cities and towns, people use their local FPFs daily to find lost dogs, recommend dentists, talk about burglaries, organize block parties, sell bikes, find babysitters, and much more.
FPF depends on word-of-mouth to reach folks, so please spread the word! Send people to http://FrontPorchForum.com
P.S. FPF is now available in every town in Vermont!
Lots of great Thanksgiving postings shared on Front Porch Forum this week… neighbors thanking neighbors. Here’s one example from the Marshfield Plainfield FPF…
Dear Plainfield: I am so grateful to be your librarian. Thanks to each of you who comes into our little library. We all make it to special place that it is… I certainly couldn’t do it without all of you.
I want to also take this opportunity to thank the Town Clerk’s office and Selectboard members, the Cemetery Commission, the Social Concerns Committee, PACA members… am I forgetting anybody who helps Plainfield function as a town? Also, hurray for Susan and Sylvia at the Jaquith Library in Marshfield!
Last but not least, thank you to all of our wonderful volunteers! Janet, Gail, Sherri, Will, Libby, Ben, Talvi, Emily, Joyce, Maria, Donna, Laura & her Master Gardeners, and the board of trustees (they volunteer their time, too): Jan, Sandra, Bev, Stephen, Monica, Erika and Bob.
When I am reflecting on all I have to be thankful for at the table on Thursday… living in this wonderful state, and serving this diverse and passionate community at this amazing little library, will be high on the list!
ALSO! Thank you, Front Porch Forum for connecting me with the wonderful family who sold me a set of great snow tires at a really great price.
Happy thanksgiving, everybody. We’ll be open again Saturday from 10-2.
Love, your librarian Loona
For nearly 20 years, the Orton Family Foundation has successfully helped people in small cities and towns navigate change in a way that honors their connection to community. Orton’s track record of using technology and process to yield strong place-centric results is truly impressive.
FPF member and University of Vermont dean Susan Comerford is quoted in that same article. She says, “Front Porch Forum is a post-modern return to citizen democracy…(it) may well be the most important advance in community development strategies in decades.” She might be right.
But the coolest thing about FPF in my book is that it upends the assumed role of the Internet in our lives. It asserts that our online lives don’t have to be distinct from our offline lives that they can merge in healthy, useful, positive, reciprocal ways. And even better than that…Front Porch Forum encourages us to reconnect with each other in person, tªte- -tªte, to have conversations and shake hands and share babysitters and roto-tillers and generally help each other out. It pulls us out of our digital isolation and pushes us back into our front yards and onto the street, out to the park or the playground or the farmer’s market or the local garage to see what’s going on, to remember who we are, and even who we want to be, as parents and friends and citizens. It helps us be neighbors.
“If you think driving a car or walking is unsafe on Wes White Hill, try riding a horse! I’ve been riding there for 15 years. I have been run off the road and thrown into the ditches so many times that I have stopped counting. I even reported a state trooper who was speeding, no lights, just speeding and leaving a trail of dust. Finally, after all these years my older horse, Norman, had had enough and stood his ground. As a car was coming towards us over the speed limit, I cued him to move to the side of the road. He refused, stopped in the middle of the road and there was nothing I could do. The car stopped in front of us and the young driver looked as if she was going to faint. Norman then moved over and continued walking home. He finally learned that horses have the right of way in Vermont.”
That was posted by Carol to the Richmond Front Porch Forum yesterday.