From the South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race:
Neighborhoods: Building Blocks for the SOMA Community
Join the Neighborhood Summit on July 10th, 7:30 PM at the Woodland
Calling all Neighborhood Association or Block Group Leaders! On Tuesday, July 10th from 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM at the Woodland in Maplewood, the Residential and Neighborhoods Committee of the South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race will host its first Neighborhood Summit in ten years! The first portion of this Summit will focus on the nuts and bolts of organizing a neighborhood group. From there, groups will discuss how neighborhoods are on the forefront of mobilizing on issue areas like race and affordability and are the groups who work to welcome and support neighbors. Visa gift cards will be offered through a door prize drawing to help support efforts to connect as neighbors.
This Summit will have something for individuals looking to mobilize new groups, as well as for groups in place and looking to add more resources. Hear what fellow SOMA residents have to say about the impact and importance of these groups:
Viktorija Bowers of the Borden Park Neighborhood Association shares:
“If you want to make your neighborhood feel like home, this is the way to go. Your neighbors become part of your extended family: courteous nods to strangers on your way to the jitney turn into warm greetings, embraces and talking about your children and your lives. We are collectively putting our heads and hearts together to make our community strong, safe and beautiful place to live. It brings joy to my heart seeing people from all walks of life united together cleaning our local park together while our children play, setting up play dates, events, etc. We keep each other informed about happenings in town, and common love for our town brings us together to make everyone’s life a beautiful one.”
Kathleen Leventhal of the former Berkshire Park Neighborhood
“Berkshire Park Neighborhood Association began in the late 1990s when a few neighbors formed a steering committee to build a sense of community by coordinating multiple activities. Our ultimate goal was to foster relationships among all ages of residents for fun and safety among the couple of blocks around the Clinton School.
We had yearly Block Parties, Winter Holiday Parties, Lawn Sales, Meetings and Forms with Town and School Officials, Community Cleanups, Candidates’ Debates, a Book Club, etc. In addition, we had a newsletter and an e-mail group. We developed a welcome pamphlet for new residents, which included everyday information like the trash pickup schedule and train schedule link. As some of us aged or moved away, despite efforts, were unable to gather the input needed to get back together and benefit from the larger community comradery.”
The vitality of a neighborhood association or block group is based on its ability to maintain leadership and ongoing opportunities to build a sense of community with residents. The South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race looks forward to empowering SOMA to develop and launch new groups to bring about change in a positive way.
To RSVP for the July 10 Neighborhood Summit at the Woodland or to volunteer for the Residential and Neighborhoods Committee please e-mail [email protected] or call 973-761-6116.