Helping Neighbors Connect

Communities of well-connected neighbors are stronger and weather crisis better. This connection, also called social capital, leads to more resilient communities. Since 2006, Front Porch Forum has helped neighbors connect and build more resilient communities.

All of us are facing the coronavirus crisis now. People are using their local FPF for mutual aid, community projects, and to share critical information. Local businesses are finding FPF valuable to communicate with the public during the crisis, as are nonprofits and public officials.

All of this activity is important, and so too are the simple postings seeking plumber recommendations and help finding lost pets. Each of these interactions adds a strand to the web of community. This slow building of social capital among neighbors becomes a crucial resource to draw upon during hard times.

Let's put our neighborly connections to good use. It's beautiful to witness all across the state how neighbors are organizing to help neighbors, to position their communities to carry on through the worst of this crisis and into recovery.

Social distancing doesn’t have to mean social isolation.

Take a look at some of these examples for your own inspiration:

Make some noise for un-sung heroes

In Burlington's Five Sisters neighborhood, every evening at 7:00, neighbors step out onto their front porches and make a little noise and wave. "It's a way to see each other and to express our gratitude for all who are working to keep people safe and healthy," said one Catherine St. neighbor.

Have a community "Bear Hunt"
Vermonters are creating local scavenger hunts. The popular "Bear Hunt" is fun for kids. Neighbors put teddy bears (and other stuffed animals) in their own windows for childrento spot when they walk or ride around their neighborhoods. Organize a "Bear Hunt" in your neighborhood!

Themed Scavenger Hunts
Scavenger Hunts with any theme are fun for kiddos. In So. Burlington FPF members "enjoyed putting out hockey gear for the sports themed treasure hunt, as well as seeing creative other ideas.... Olympic Rings made of rocks, a swimming pool, and many others."

Share signs of Spring
Hannah in Craftsbury suggested posting notes of Spring on a community bulletin board. "I really love spring, and I miss the spring arrivals board at Sterling College. So.....I have a poster board at the Genny up for us all to document our observations of spring (bring your own pen)."

Share unanticipated consequences

Burlington FPF member Don M. suggested a 5-word contest, and started with these suggestions:

1. Skinny dogs (lots of extra walks)
2. More people with long hair or bad haircuts (no salons/barber shops)
3. Exponential increase in family counseling (via Zoom of course) due to long-term sharing of close-quarters.


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