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Natural Awakenings Chicago

How to Create a Village on Your Block

Jul 26, 2014 08:50AM ● By Megy Karydes

We sit indoors or on our decks wondering why we don’t know our neighbors anymore. Are the people who live across the street nice? Does the older couple down the block need help with their grocery shopping or a walking partner? We all like to use excuses ~ we don’t have time to get to know our neighbors because we’re too busy running around, working or attending our kids’ or grandkids’ sporting events.

Yet, we crave that camaraderie and feeling of a village. Most of us genuinely want to get to know our neighbors even if we don’t always have time to commit to more than a wave of hello.

Then I read an idea that would work for even the most harried families: Front Porch Fridays (or Front Yard Fridays). The premise is surprisingly simple: just choose a Friday and someone needs to take initiative to host the gathering at their front porch or yard. Let the neighbors on your block know about the date and time and that’s all you need to do! Some have gotten more creative and call the day Flamingo Friday and place a flamingo in their front yard to designate their home as the next meeting location. Since flamingos are pretty rare anywhere around the Chicagoland area, you can bet the bird will be quite visible to your neighbors to spot!

Your neighbors are responsible for arriving with potluck and/or drinks. Basically, the host is simply choosing the date and time and people from your block show up. That’s it. You get to learn more about your neighbors while you kick back and relax after a long week. Who knows…there may be a time you need someone to walk your dog when you’re running late from work or you can pick up your neighbor’s dry cleaning since you’re heading there already.

The old adage of it takes a village may be true, but you need to know who lives in your village in order to make it a real community.

Is this something you’d try? I think I’m going to hunt down a flamingo this weekend. Now that kind of hunting down…