Neighborhood Opportunity Network

Supporting one another in a time of crisis

Just knockin’ in the rain!

Posted by sebastianbrown on October 30, 2009

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Photo op of the group (dry) before heading out

Despite the nasty weather, 28 area residents spent Saturday morning knocking on hundreds of doors in two Long Branch apartment complexes: Nob Hill and Park Montgomery. But before hitting the streets we cozied up inside the Long Branch Community Center Conference Room for a 2 hour training. After Long Branch Coordinator Ray Moreno set the mood by singing Stevie Wonder’s classic “Love’s in need,” Executive Director Frankie Blackburn gave a quick primer on the Campaign goals, emphasizing TWO in particular: connecting neighbors 1) to each other and 2) to emergency services.

Then, we led a short exercise to illustrate that each of us has skills and interests that can be put toward benefiting the greater community. Each volunteer was handed a placard with a short description of a random persona, including three attributes (skills, interests, hobbies) on one side, and one need/desire on the other. Participants then took 10 minutes walking around the room trying to match up their assets with others’ needs. One of the many great connections was made when State Senator Jamie Raskin (a 15 year old basket ball player in the exercise) led a couple other similar aged kids over to meet a basketball coach, looking to start a summer league, and a local Baptist minister who was willing to let the kids play in the church’s basement gym–quite the group!

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Volunteers getting into character during asset exercise

We then finished out the training with a few quick role plays, demonstrating the three most common door knock interactions–1) Nobody answers  2) Somebody answers but doesn’t have time to talk and 3) The person answers, is interested, and wants to know more! But even with the great acting prowess of Frankie and Ray (as Ray is known for saying): “There’s no better way to learn then by just doing it.” So that’s what we did.

With 14 pairs of Neighbors Campaign-tee-shirt-clad IMPACT volunteers scattered throughout the 141 units of Park Montgomery and the 397 units of Nob Hill, 284 doors were knocked! But even more impressive, of those 284, over 100 actual conversations were had!!! While some of the conversations were little more than a resident asking for the volunteer to return at another time, some were much more–sometimes lasting over 40 minutes! Despite the innumerable troubles that our neighbors face every day during these tough economic times, Saturday’s conversations reminded us of the importance of us all joining forces to put our individual attributes and skills toward the collective good.

Now we’re getting ready for our first Neighbors Exchange in Long Branch, which will take place on Wednesday November 4 from 7-9pm in the New Hampshire Estates Elementary School Main Gym. Saturday’s door-knock was certainly a great start to getting the word out but still much more is to be done! Call Sebastian Brown anytime at 240-247-0286 for details on when we’ll be going out in the next few days to knock on some doors and meet our neighbors.

One Response to “Just knockin’ in the rain!”

  1. Kathy Stevens said

    I’ve knocked on doors before this experience with IMPACT, but in very different settings for different reasons. I was not sure exactly what to expect – but after a great and very thorough training, we were off. I was thrilled to be paired with Beatriz who spoke Spanish -which helped at a few doors for our conversations. We found some people at home, some willing to talk with us. In some ways I thought I knew some things that might be challenging for the community members we spoke with, but in some ways I better understand how much there is to learn and how much different ways of helping people connect with their neighbors and county services is needed. And, getting to places where you can have those conversations, hear what they have to say, what is hard, helps us know how to be better equipped to help them be connected. Thanks!

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