When I saw today’s theme, what first came into my head was the Central Frederick Neighbourhood Association.

Day 8 of the 12 Days for Good: SOLIDARITY / TOGETHERNESS 12 days 2013

Today’s the eighth day of the 12 Days for Good coordinated as a pay it forward campaign by the House of Friendship. On Twitter? Follow all the goodness by following #12daysforgood and contribute your own good deeds too!

Today’s theme is “Solidarity / Togetherness” which is described as: to come together and to promote a spirit of unity and harmony amongst our neighbours and throughout our community

Neighbourhoods are the foundation of a healthy community

The health of our neighbourhood affects how connected we feel to our community. It influences how safe we feel, our level of happiness and our physical and mental health.

Collectively, the health of each of our neighbourhoods directly relates to the health of our entire community.

How you define your neighbourhood is up to you. It may be your block connected by backyards or separated by a street. It may be a townhouse complex or a condo building. It could be a collection of apartment buildings or even take in a good-sized geographic area. For some, they might identify their neighbourhood  by a name such as Stanley Park. It really comes down to your level of connection with whatever you describe as your neighbourhood.

For my family, it’s the Central Frederick neighbourhood.

Togetherness is the Central Frederick Neighbourhood Association

hohner porch party

An active neighbourhood association was a defiinite attraction when we moved a year ago. What we’ve discovered is that the Central Frederick Neighbourhood Association (CFNA)  has exceeded our expectations. It’s not only active but in a way that is inclusive and warm. The result is what I describe as a vibrant neighbourhood in the heart of Kitchener.

This is a result of a long history of people in this neighbourhood actively caring for their neighbours. People like Theron Kramer and many others that I’m just starting to learn about.

Building a vibrant neighbourhood is not a one person job. In our case, there’s an executive that works together to keep neighbours connecting. People like:

  • Laura McBride – our fearless leader who is filled with ideas and energy
  • Matt Riehl – who spearheaded the fabulous Hohner Porch Party
  • Rachel D’Aguilar and her Community Garden team
  • Volunteers who deliver the Downtown Community Centre activities guide
  • And other executive members and volunteers who play big and small parts in making things happen such as the annual garage sale

I do my bit my helping with communications including reviving the website, starting a Twitter account and soon an e-mail system.

Do you part to make your neighbourhood better

What can you do to make your neighbourhood better?

Sure one person can’t make a neighbourhood vibrant but that one person can start the process or enhance what’s already happening.

For example, our old neighbourhood near King & Ottawa didn’t have an active neighbourhood association. Together with my wife, we held a couple of annual street parties for our section of east downtown Kitchener. We hoped it might lead to a formal association. It didn’t but that seems to be fine with folks. Still we had 30 – 50 people at the street parties and others organized garage sales.

These are exactly the kind of activities that the Festival of Neighbourhoods in Kitchener promotes. Big or small, if you hold an event that is inclusive of everyone in your neighbourhood, it deserves to be celebrated for building a stronger, connected neighbourhood. The icing on the cake is that your neigbhourhood (however you define it) is eligible to win a $10,000 capital grant from the City of Kitchener. The city’s website has more information about the Festival of Neighbourhoods and related resources.

Not an organizer or too busy too get involved on that level? Participate!

Bring something to the potluck. Volunteer at an event. Give feedback on issues affecting your neighbourhood. Attend a parent and tots group.

Show you care! Be a part of your neighbourhood–together with your neighbours.

2 thoughts on “Day 8: Togetherness makes a strong, connected neighbourhood

  1. Well said James. And in addition to the fun that can be had, the bonds of community can really pay off when we are tested by downed trees and loss of power during ice storms etc! We have seen great responses and I am proud to live in this area in Ward 10 with great neighbourhoods!

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