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Category Archives: Front Porch Forum

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


Heartfelt gratitude for our fire fighters

It’s witnessing these acts of neighborliness that has such an impact on FPF members.

“On a slushy, awful night, there was a grease fire in an apartment above Delish and The Quirky Pet. I got the call and rushed downtown to find our fire department walking through my wet shop as well as Delish where the water was literally crawling down the walls. This might sound trivial, but the concern they showed for the health and well being of my eleven parakeets in the aviary was extraordinary. All are healthy and present for because our fire department made sure my shop was powered up to remain warm and was smoke free before they left for the night. The same concern was shown for the well being of the dogs and cat in the apartments upstairs. Our fire fighters alongside my husband and me carried load after load of candy into my pet shop saving Delish’s livelihood. They didn’t have to join in on that.

It is really unfortunate that most of us don’t really notice the fire department until they are involved in a fire call. Montpelier’s fire department is a tightly run shop of really caring people who are very good at what they do. You don’t normally see them get mentioned in Front Porch Forum.

As a Montpelier business owner… and a resident of Montpelier as well, they have my heartfelt gratitude not only for what they did for Delish and my shop but for our upstairs residential neighbors as well on a very messy night weather-wise.”   • Richard in Montpelier


America is suffering an epidemic of loneliness

A recent opinion piece in the New York Times had us reflecting on how Front Porch Forum works to bridge loneliness.

Photo credit: John Taggart for The New York Times

“Each of us can be happier, and America will start to heal when we become the kind neighbors and generous friends we wish we had.”  • Arthur C. Brooks for the New York Times

FPF‘s community-centric framework has created a powerful norm of neighborliness that builds enduring social ties.



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

 


There goes the neighborhood

Front Porch Forum co-founder, Michael Wood-Lewis, was recently interviewed on the Team Human podcast for a segment on “people trying to effect real cultural change in very different ways.”

Team Human is a podcast striving to amplify human connection. Each week they engage in real-time, no-holds-barred discussions with people who are hacking the machine to make it more compatible with human life, and helping redefine what it means to stay human in a digital age.  

Take a listen and see how Michael “shows us how the net can be used to turn residents back into neighbors. It’s a story about the transformative power of witnessing everyday acts of neighborliness.”

 


Almost there! Pitch in before midnight Halloween

Wow!  The response from Front Porch Forum members has been amazing.  We’re about $12,000 shy of our October Supporting Member Campaign goal with one and a half days remaining!

Please chip in today or tomorrow.  Thanks much!


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?

Happily, Vermont has Front Porch Forum

Did you hear the commentary aired on WDEV’s Friday morning news show about FPF?

In case you missed it, listen to the broadcast from Common Sense Radio commentator John McClaughry and learn why he encourages us to give a look at Front Porch Forum.