Neighborhood Opportunity Network

Supporting one another in a time of crisis

Another Day of Door Knocking and Partnering with HHS – some quick reflections

Posted by frankieblackburn on March 25, 2009

Three Vista volunteers – two are current and one (Bill Traynor) was a vista volunteer in the early 80’s. They were delighted to find each other. Thanks to Bill Traynor for coming door knocking with us….all the way from Lawrence Community Works in Lawrence, Massachusetts (click photo to view his blog).

Three Vista volunteers – two are current (Ntsiuwa Sato-Bess and Patricia Rogers) and one (Bill Traynor) was a Vista volunteer in the early 80’s. They were delighted to find each other. Thanks to Bill Traynor for coming door knocking with us all the way from Lawrence Community Works in Lawrence, Massachusetts (visit his blog at ValueOfPlace.wordpress.com).

Property Managers – Yesterday, I spoke with a property manager at Parklane Apartments in Gaithersburg. She was very happy to find out about the Neighbors Campaign and immediately told me of the huge increase in her tenants who are facing or are near eviction and how difficult it is for her. She was really glad to learn about the new Neighborhood Service Center and our Neighbors Exchange scheduled for this Thursday. She volunteered to pass out fliers for her entire complex and she even was willing to go around with us, and translate if we needed it – she speaks Spanish and is very culturally competent. I am looking forward to working with her as we seek to build a greater sense of mutual support among neighbors in Parklane Apartments.

Emotions – When we first knock on a door, people are initially hesitant to talk. As soon as they hear that we are simply out walking around – finding out how people are doing during these tough times – the door opens wider and they relax. In the last few days, we experienced six different door knocks and conversations that led to tears and genuine expressions of fear. We’ve also experienced a great number of smiles and warm offers of help. One man started grinning ear to ear – as he realized that he has job openings at his company – and he could possibly help someone in his neighborhood find a job through the campaign… lots of emotions behind closed doors in our neighborhood.

Clients versus Residents – IMPACT continues to hold a dialogue with our HHS partners about how to blend our two worlds of social work and community organizing– both of which are honorable, credible and effective. One conversation which illustrates this healthy tension is the term we use to talk about the people who walk into the Neighborhood Center. Are they clients of HHS? Yes, of course. Are they residents of the neighborhood? Yes, of course. Which term should we use? Can we use both? Why don’t you post a comment to help us as we continue to hold this healthy dialogue and debate.

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