Neighborhood Opportunity Network

Supporting one another in a time of crisis

Concrete Connections in Wheaton

Posted by meganmoriarty on April 8, 2010

Vanessa, Alpha, Lisette, Andrew, Chiali, Martin, Irene, Luis, Santiago

The past few weeks have been busy in Wheaton — door knocking, Census outreach and Tuesdays Together. We tabled in front of the H Mart on Georgia Avenue to encourage neighbors to fill out and mail back their Census forms. We had a Census party at Tuesdays Together at the end of March and filled out our forms together. Last Saturday we knocked on over 150 doors at the Glenmont Forest Apartments and just last night we knocked on 260 doors at Cinnamon Run and Peppertree Farm Apartments in Aspen Hill. A core group of Tuesdays Together participants have decided to start their own ESOL class (more on that soon!).

After door knocking at Glenmont Forest

One of the main goals of all this activity is to make concrete connections between diverse neighbors. But, why? As Lianna wrote in a blog post today for the Washington Area Women’s Foundation: we are weaving together the lives and destinies of neighbors because we know that we can achieve more together (you can read her whole post here).

Here are some examples of the concrete connections neighbors have made over the past few weeks:

  • During Tuesdays Together, Hector and Maria took down Elmer’s contact information and will call him if they hear of a construction job through their own business networks.
  • At the same meeting, Carlos and Rosa sat down to troubleshoot his dental issues and figure out the best referral option. Unfortunately, this conversation came a bit too late as he had already pulled out his own molar since he couldn’t afford to go to the dentist.
  • Martha O. who has participated with us at Tuesdays Together found a job for Alex.
  • After meeting Lakeisha through door knocking, we referred her to a new parenting program starting in her neighborhood.
  • Ray helped Marta P. fill out her Census form during the Census party.
  • I had some much needed repair work done on my car by Martha S’s friend Moris.
  • Chelsea (who is only in elementary school!) used her sign language skills to translate for Lya during Tuesdays Together.

As the network manager, I am struggling with how to track these connections because I know the stories I hear about are only the tip of the iceberg. And, more importantly, how can we as neighbors hold each other accountable for following up on these connections we make? If you have any ideas, let me know!

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