While there are certainly elements of the Good Neighbor just about everywhere, we are trying to bring a low- to no-cost program that helps us each become our “brother’s keeper” as we look after one another on our block, in our neighborhoods and in our communities. This project has several components:
In times of disaster, good communication and organization are essential. As a foundation for a good community disaster plan is a good, well-organized community, who can be autonomous when necessary and coordinate for large projects quickly and efficiently. The Block Captains will be determined by the residents of a particular block or street to represent them and receive training that will be later shared with them.
While they could be considered community leaders, they will not be elected to terms nor formally recognized by any government entity. They will, however, be key in disaster and community coordination efforts when needed and be the clearing house for information on how the families on the block can be of use.
It’s strange to think of scheduling something fun as a way to prepare and care for one another but in many communities, neighbors don’t know each other and don’t know each others kids’ names or the circumstances that they are in, such as the care for an aging loved one or children with special needs. These details do not come out in casual conversation only but in knitting their lives together. One job of the Block Captains is to regularly organize potluck-style events right in the places where they live, such as in a nearby park or simply across a few driveways. This helps neighbors appreciate each other as fellow human beings rather than just focus on how they can affect each others’ lives and property values.
Area Commanders will be selected by the Block Captains to administer and coordinate special programs including CERT training, emergency preparedness fairs, community disaster drills and will be the chief voices in the community to coordinate with local government and other community organizations in establishing plans and disseminating those to the Block Captains, who will ultimately bring that to each home in a given community.
Different religions, cultures and lifestyles seemingly clash in the headlines and on social media. Instead of looking to these differences to further separate each other, individuals can be nominated by their Block Captain to be an ambassador of their particular faith, walk of life, culture or standing. These ambassadors will attend Block Parties and share their beliefs but also simply mix and mingle with others to dispel the “mystery” and put a face and name to what might otherwise be another “them” as they fight against “us”. There are far too many casualties in the fight against “us” and “them”. It’s time this becomes “we”. Ambassadors will help foster unity and remind us all that while we have many differences, there is far more that unites us in the human family.