Washington School Neighbors: Time for Relationships

In our world today, relationships are falling away. We are too busy and always plugged in to some form of technology. We have to make an intentional decision to pull away from our electronics and search for ways to create something more. It is so easy to feel alone when everything we do is dictated by our attachment to technology and not actual people.

We pay bills online, we communicate with friends and family via social media, we hand school children computers in order to complete assignments and to make it easier for parents and teachers to communicate. Yet we wonder why so many people are lonely and struggling with depression. I believe it’s lack of relationship… good old fashioned, face to face, have a conversation and interact with someone, relationship.

I started working with a community organization a couple months ago called Washington School Neighbors. They seek to connect residents and create relationships through hosting community building events and facilitating two community gardens. WSN works in collaboration with neighbors in order to help them find solutions to issues that they feel are important to the area in which they live. WSN does not seek to be the driving force but to listen to the residents and help foster relationships that will allow them to find ways to use the gifts and talents that already exist in the neighborhood. Washington School Neighbors is just one piece of a much larger puzzle. The churches, businesses and individuals that support WSN all have the same desire: to see residents living life in community and in relationship with one another. Outside of any financial, ethnic, religious or other differences, we are all members of the same community.

I believe the work that is being done is more crucial now than ever before simply because of disconnect that technology has brought to our society. When we host an event and get to see children’s smiling faces and parents stepping away from their busyness long enough to connect with their children, it is worth it. When we hear stories of families and individuals connecting through the cultivation of food through the gardens, it is worth it. When residents walk through the neighborhood and see more familiar faces and feel more connected to those that they may not have otherwise noticed, it is worth it.

I have learned so much more about the community in which I live and my neighbors by just walking through the Washington School Neighborhood and participating in these community building events. We are not just the Historic District with the big beautiful homes. We are struggling mothers and fathers and students trying to make their dreams a reality. We are rental units and two family homes. We are transitional housing and addiction recovery housing. We represent all races and backgrounds, and we all deserve to be in relationship and to be seen.

I have lived in this area for more than twenty years, but have never felt more connected to my neighbors than I do right now. I look forward to watching how all of this work unfolds. Everyone has gifts and talents to offer and WSN desires to connect neighbors with opportunities to live out their gifts while serving others and creating relationships. In this present age of uncertainty we have the opportunity to take back a piece of what technology has stolen. If we can help foster relationships outside of any social barriers that may exist, then we can help create a more inclusive community. WSN believes in an Asset Based model and relationships could be our most valuable asset.

Future Events:

  • Block Connector Info + Pizza Night on Tuesday, Jan. 23 from 5:30-7pm at the Herrick District Library (on the Main floor meeting room): Find out how to become more involved on your block as well as find out the perks of being the first to know about the community resources to you. If you are interested in learning more about becoming a block connector in the Washington School Neighborhood, email christen@ washingtonschoolneighbors. com. Go from the Block Connector Info + Pizza Night to the “Know Your Neighbor” series hosted by Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance at the Herrick Library from 7-8:30pm in the Auditorium.
  • Thank you for supporting the work of Washington School Neighbors through our Photo Fundraiser this December. If you missed out but would want to participate in a future mini-session, please sign up by emailing info@ washingtonschoolneighbors.com with “photo” in the subject line and you will be the first to know about any future WSN mini-session.
  • Suicide Prevention Program at 7pm on Jan. 9 at Nuestra Casa (253 W. 15th St.) RSVP to info@ washingtonschoolneighbors.com
  • Sign up to be a part of the WSN Asset Library. More info. coming soon but pre-register or show your interest in this shared resource library by filling out information at this link: https:// washingtonschoolneighbors.com/ community-lending-library/

~Lisa Kasten, Neighborhood Connector