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The Power of a Connected Neighborhood

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Nextdoor.com is a private social network allowing neighbors to create private neighborhood websites where they can get to know one another, ask questions, exchange local advice and recommendations, and organize virtual neighborhood watches to reduce crime. The following is a true story, and a great example of how connecting with your neighbors can create a caring, compassionate community – especially on events such as National Night Out!

Times were tough for Samantha, who lives in Orlando, Florida. She was struggling with cancer treatments, going through a divorce, and keeping up with work. Both physically and emotionally drained, a slip of paper in the mail one afternoon threatened to put her over the edge: notice from her neighborhood’s board, stating that unless she did something about the state of her yard, she would be charged a fine.

It wasn’t that Samantha didn’t care to keep up her yard – she physically could not do it. An avid gardener, she’d enjoyed taking care of her yard, but cancer treatments had drained her of all of her previous energy, and the divorce proceedings ate up what little free time she had to prune and mow the grass. Frustrated, exhausted, and at the end of her rope, Samantha turned to Nextdoor.com, and wrote a post to her neighborhood. She shared her troubles with her neighbors so they would have the whole story; she didn’t know who had called her out to the board, but was certain that whomever had done it hadn’t known the extenuating circumstances.

The response from her neighborhood was overwhelming. Rather than reacting negatively to Samantha’s frustrated and angry post, neighbors began to offer their assistance. One by one, the offers began to flood in: neighbors were eager to stop by Samantha’s house and help whip her yard back into shape. Parents brought their teenagers to help, while others offered to bring their trucks and help haul away debris.

Within just two weeks’ time, neighbors stopped by daily to help Samantha before she was fined. Thanks to her neighbors’ quick action, the fine was lifted – and Samantha’s neighborhood realized the power of a connected community.

How do you and your neighbors connect to support each other? Share your stories in the comments section below.

About the Author:

Anne Dreshfield is the Communications Coordinator for Nextdoor.com, the private social network for neighborhoods that is being used by over 38,000 communities across the United States. Nextdoor’s mission is to use the power of technology to build stronger and safer places to call home. Nominate your good neighbors for the National Good Neighbor Day award starting on August 1st, 2014.

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