What exactly creates a neighborhood? Is it a number of houses, a community building, a committee? Is a neighborhood dictated by codes or regulations, or sanctioned off by gated entrances? When I looked up the definition, it basically gave me the generic response of a general vicinity. I thought maybe “community” would offer a more homey feel. Yet unfortunately, “a group of people living in a particular area” offered no more warm fuzzies than strangers.
I like to think words like “neighborhood” and “community” are more than this. Maybe I gloss over the facts and create a better world in my head where community can be synonymous with family, and family can be equal to loving relationships. Maybe that’s my dream world. But if so, I’m okay with that-maybe I work to make my dream world more of a reality.
My neighborhood has a brick sign that announces to the surrounding area that we are Crieve Hall Neighborhood. We have an actual neighborhood association and a specific area that defines Crieve Hall. But Crieve Hall is a neighborhood not because of these things, but the people behind it all. The Crieve Hall Neighborhood Association (CHNA) is a group that originated as people banded together to fight a through-road being put in our area–but since then, it’s expanded-they advocate for the community and they organize functions to get us all together. They’ve raised money for families in need and they’ve showcased the fun that comes from living in our neighborhood.
We now have the Crieve Hall Cares committee to really focus on the social aspect of our neighborhood. We want to have fun, and we want to learn how to really serve each other. We are more than a neighborhood–we’re striving to create community and family. We notice when a strange car is parked at a neighbor’s, or when someone has a new baby or loses a spouse. We have a forum where people can comment on the good and bad and general goings-on in the area. We care for each other and want to show that by being involved.
Investing in the lives of others-maybe that’s what my definition of “community” is all about. Not merely living side by side, but living together. A neighborhood is an opportunity to have people of all different ages, backgrounds, and viewpoints come together for the common good of where they live. A neighborhood is a melting pot of differences, yet these are the closest people to the place you call home–why not reach out and get to know them?