Ignite the power of everyday people to create, together, an extraordinary world right where they live.
Neighborhood Connections is a highly valued and trusted partner working directly with residents in the neighborhoods we serve. Neighborhood Connections has built diverse networks across boundaries that are creating neighborhood transformation. We believe in the importance of connecting people to strengthen communities and partnerships and they have a repeatedly proven track record of involvement and accomplishment in this regard, especially in the neighborhoods we prioritize. We also believe in empowering stakeholders to create the community that they envision, not what someone else envisions for them.
For the past four years, Neighbor Up events have successfully worked to build new networks of support across race, class, geographic professional and other boundaries that have resulted in more functionality in and across our city. They work to unleash people’s aspirational and optimistic energy to shape and sustain a healthier and more productive community life. They see residents as the guiding force in neighborhood transformation, which means there is a need to invest in residents’ talents and engage institutions as responsive partners with residents.
Many communities continue to suffer from an unhealthy dynamic: residents feel that government officials and other service providing institutions make decisions and take action without considering or identifying their concerns. At the same time, people working in service organizations and government grow frustrated when traditional forums for community engagement attract little resident input and interactions with residents center on complaints. Neighborhood Connections creates spaces that help people connect and engage in value exchange to generate action through co-creation. They feel that these spaces spark deeper relationships, help people explore, reveal and exchange value; neutralize positional power so that those sharing the space can engage as people first; provide the time and opportunity to engage in learning and exploration around issues, neighborhood life, and life skills; and serve as a generative force – facilitating the time and space for organic generation of new campaigns, movements, collaborations, new community institutions and organizations.
In practice, Neighborhood Connections, through individual and collective relationship making, brings people together in their neighborhood around issues they care about. They take existing networks such as resident led groups, student parent organizations, community-based organizations and institutions, youth organizations, congregations, or merchants’ groups and encourage and facilitate relationships and cross sector participation to address resident created and led transformation.
Our work in the Buckeye-Shaker-Mt. Pleasant neighborhoods is intent on building caring relationships neighbor to neighbor and across neighborhoods that create opportunities for residents to support one another and act together on issues they care about. It's about creating a more connected and trusting community that results in caring for one another and more power for everyday people to effect change on their street and in their community
Tom O’Brien, Program Director, Neighborhood Connections