News From Your Friends

Why know your Neighbors?

March 18, 2023 in General

When  I lived in the greater LA area,  like most during the mid 80’s I worked long hours, traveled for work and never knew who I lived next door too.  In the summer of 1992 I escaped that concrete jungle, I made a personal vow to myself never to live like that again.  From the time I left Southern California I have made it a point to get to know all my neighbors, have them over when I can for drinks, BBQs, movies, or Christmas Brunch.  Every community is built upon neighbors knowing each other, caring about each other, stepping up to help when help is needed.  In doing the simple things for our neighbors we  participate in building a strong community.

I have enjoyed living in Cedar 49 for about 21 years.  Many of those years I have organized the annual garage sale.  That means getting new signs made, frames for the signs built, and stored when not in use.  Designing and passing out flyers, taking donations toward the signs and advertising expense.  These simple tasks also provided me with the opportunity to meet all my neighbors.  While I may not know all of them, they all know about me.  I saved the names and contact info from the garage sale participants and created an old fashion phone tree.  As I explained to each of them, if I need to contact them for any reason, I want to be able to reach them.   The contact information will only be sued in an emergency situation by me.  Time will be of the essence.

Time passes and the needs of the community changed.  A new neighbor moved here from Dallas, Texas and she was amazed that we did not have a Facebook Page.  At the time I did not even know what Facebook was.  I said come on over and we will figure it out.  That small thing that began with us two neighbors has grown into a platform for virtual communication within our neighborhood.  Our Facebook page has well over 400 hundred people on it now.

I had another neighbor come over for coffee one day and she said that she was having a problem beginning a neighborhood watch program.  Our neighborhood was beginning to have things stolen out of vehicles at night and we needed to be proactive and do something about the situation.  After listening to her, I replied no worries I will find out about it, and we will organize a neighborhood meeting.  I engaged the phone tree, sent emails, printed flyers secured a meeting place. The result was our neighborhood watch platform was born and neighbors began watching out for one another.  The frequency of theft was reduced.  Our neighborhood safety improved, by simply getting to know our neighbors and watching out for each other.

National night out BBQ are a great way to celebrate the end of summer with your neighbors.  It is held on the first Tuesday evening of August.  Over the years we have held the BBQ in a few different places, but I live central in Cedar 49 and I have a yard and home that lends itself to this type of event easily.  Neighbors and friends join if they can, they bring a dish to share, we found a DJ that works for tips and a great time is had by all.

Neighbors pitching in together have the power to create and maintain a wonderful environment, a safe neighborhood, and a paradise here on earth.  People ask how we could come together on such short notice to fight the concrete batch plant build once we learned of the plan.  We have a history of coming together.  We have a method of communicating among ourselves.  We are responsive to the neighborhood call to action, because everyone knows that I would not send out the call if it did not mean life, death or some other major emergency.  We are blessed in that many of us have certain defined skill sets that when united we become an awesome force with a singular goal.  In this case, we heeded the call to band together to fight for our continued good health, the safety of our children and beloved pets.   Many of us are seniors, we need to fight to maintain our property values in addition to maintaining our quality of life.

Life without light and noise pollution is a blessing that drove many of us to relocated from the concrete jungle of city life to Clark County.  On a clear night to we can see the stars at night from our deck(s).  That special night show is a treat that many never get to view from outside their homes.  To have our nights so quiet that you can hear the frogs speak to each other with an open bedroom window brings peace to our slumber.

To live in a neighborhood where folks wave hello as they drive by, or stop and chat with each other when they are out for a walk is a rare gift.  When any of us say hello to you and ask how are you doing?  We stand and wait for a response.  We do that because each of us is important to one another.  That is only being neighborly.

Our neighbors have a clear vision of what we hold dear, and what we enjoy each and every day here at our homes.  We will protect our families, our neighbors, our health, and our quality of life as best as we can.  In the case of the concrete batch plant, we all see it for the hazards it represents to us, and we stand united against it.  No doubt, no debate, firm resolve.  We shall remain vigilant in our watch.

Submitted Jan Kelly, Friends of Central Vancouver (FOCV)