Saturday, August 14, 2010

End-of-Summer Celebration

Today the Neighborhood Scavenger Hunters hosted another neighborhood party to mark the end of summer.  Beforehand, Amorie and Da'Sean made signs to post on the fence at the park and at Amorie's  house on Cocoanut Ave.

Next they dropped off signs with fellow neighborkids on Panama Dr. and Janie Poe Dr. to spread the word throughout the neighborhood.  

Later in the day, kids dragged the grill along with the folding table and a few chairs down to the Mary Dean park at the end of the block.  Mr. Dennis came over to help grill, and about 25 folks showed up to celebrate.  


We're establishing quite a record when it comes to neighborkid-led block parties.  How cool is that?

The Love of Sharing

This morning there was a knock at the door – it was Amorie, and he was excited to tell me that the church one block away was sharing food with all of us as neighbors.  He insisted that we go check it out together.  That is so like Amorie – whenever he comes across a great opportunity, his first response is to go tell others so they can benefit from it too.  We headed over together and soon the exploration became a full-fledged neighborhood scavenger hunt, so you can read more about it on the Central-Cocoanut blog.  Here are a few pics:


 What impressed me this morning was how delighted Amorie was by having this food share here in the neighborhood, right down the street, and how his natural inclination was not simply to take the food that was offered, but to make sure other neighbors found out about it, and to contribute as well.   

Amorie is a great example of a real-deal community-builder, and I have much to learn from him.  

Sunday, August 8, 2010

One in Food, One in Life

Tonight there was a knock at the door and then...surprise!  The D's brought me a plate for dinner!  Their mom, Ms. Donna, made mac & cheese (my all-time favorite), baked ham, mashed potatoes, and apple pie for dessert.  Yum, what a special treat!  Neighbors have come to know two things about me:  I love to eat, and I'm not much of a cook (though I'm determined to learn!)

Wow, it means a lot to know that neighbors keep me in mind, sharing homemade dinner and other good stuff.  There is a saying:  "Those who are one in food are one in life."  Yep, I'd say so.    

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Well-Loved Homes

This afternoon, Da’Sean was looking for something to do so he decided to take the neighborhood camera and photograph the houses on our block.  Here’s what he came up with:



These pics communicate a lot about the street we live on.  They show that we live in mostly single-story, single-family homes, with driveways, front lawns and greenery.  They show that yards on our street are generally well-kept, though not typically pumped up with sprinkler systems or fertilizer.  They show that front porches and front stoops are pretty common, with some folks preferring to keep neighbors at a distance with fences while other folks welcome people to stop by and chat. 

“Housing conditions” are often recognized as an environmental domain that influences child well-being.  Typically, though, measures and indicators of housing are problem-focused. Take, for example, this report titled, “Doing Better for Children,” issued last year by OECD, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.   Indicators include things like “overcrowding,” “noise levels,” “litter," "dirt and grime,” and “vandalism.”

What if instead we were to see housing quality through the eyes of our neighborkids, and find corresponding positive indicators?  Things like “outdoor play space,” “opportunities for gardening,” “spots to chat with neighbors” and “welcome signs?”  What might we better notice by focusing on the positive, the way kids do?