Community Solutions and Situational Leadership
Each business or Front Porch will sponsor community volunteer Solutions as part of their involvement in Melvin’s Neighborhood. These Solutions are designed to fix the problems and take advantage of the opportunities in your community that too often are left unaddressed by our traditional institutions. They can range from organizing a cleanup effort, to fixing a playground, to even spearheading a high school mentoring or apprentice program. By being a Resident of the Neighborhood, you can become involved with whatever Solution fits your strengths and enhances your journey through life. The Neighborhood transforms our businesses into ones that you would be ashamed NOT to do business with … something no box store or chain store can compete with. And anchoring these Solutions will not be the traditional civic institutions, but rather peer leaders in your community. These are the real leaders; ones with a vested interest and a passion in the project they will insert themselves in. This is the phenomenon of Situational Leadership, the leadership that is rooted in our streets, not the ivory towers.
These Front Porch based volunteer Solutions will work in conjunction with Melvin’s philosophy of engagement being the remedy to our society’s ills and incubator for opportunities. Through involvement in these volunteer activities, petty ideological divides can be bridged and ignorance of those different of us will be replaced by empathy and situational collaboration. It’s hard to be working next to someone on a common goal – say restoring the school grounds where both your kids go … and not feel a kinship with that person that transcends political ideology.
The common thread that will be emphasized throughout these Solutions is environmental restoration and climate change intervention; and how it can impact our health both today and in the future. While national and even international government action (or inaction) receives all the attention – it’s here in our communities where the real change must happen. The Neighborhood Front Porch network must lead the efforts directly through volunteer action, and indirectly through pressure on those we elect to positions of traditional institutional power.
Below are several possible Solution options your Front Porch can use to improve your community. These are only a few of the potential ways you can make an impact though. You are limited only by your imagination.
- “Apollo 13 … Please Come Home” (“On-demand” resource network)
- “Pop-up Community” (“Pop-up” business ventures using vacant space)
- “Hey … We Need Some Help Over Here” (“On-demand” help services)
- “Fixing the Neighborhood” (Elderly and disabled home improvement initiative)
- “Stop and Smell the Roses” (Community beautification and greening effort)
- “Help Me … I’m Dirty” (Vacant lot and public space clean up)
- “Recess Time” (Playground repair and enhancement)
- “Love Comes From the Ground” (Community gardens/farmers markets)
- “You’re Never Too Old” (Adult Leagues: sports and intellectual)
- “I’m Not Alone Anymore” (Elderly and shut in in-house well-being services)
- “Play Ball” (Youth sports and intelligence leagues)
- “This Is What I Think …” (Youth writing project)
- “Getting Up To Speed” (Student tutoring program)
- “Making the Transition” (Post high school transition assistance)
- “Millennials Rising” (Teenage / young adult change force)
- “Label the Town” (Community “Places of Interest” descriptions)
- “Showing Our Stuff” (Neighborhood community fairs)
- “Is It Art?” (Street art appreciation and nurturing)
- “Pretty Pictures on the Wall” (Amateur art showings)
One of the issue that is near and dear to us at Melvin’s Neighborhood is food and nutrition. We have created a cause project called Food.IQ. The term Food.IQ reflects how food and nutrition is prioritized in a community (or a Neighborhood Node). The post “Creating an Oasis in a Food Desert“ in my personal blog does a deep dive into the project. Please check it out.
Community-based activities that rid themselves of the hierarchical baggage don’t organize themselves though. We at Melvin’s Neighborhood have thrown together some thoughts on how keep a decentralized inclusive network functioning productively in the guide, The Art of Collaboration.