Neighborgood Interview: Meet Tim

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We Love LB’s VISION is to Inspire & Equip Neighbors toward the GOOD & the FLOURISHING of all neighborhoods in Long Beach, Ca.

One way we can seek neighborhood FLOURISHING is by getting to know, learn, & be INSPIRED by our fellow neighbors around us. Our second interview is with our good friend Tim Donnelly. We HOPE you enjoy!

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WLLB: What is your favorite memory about growing up in Long Beach?

Tim: Certainly one of my fondest memories growing up was being able to go to the park (Somerset Park) across the street from my parents house and playing until dark nearly everyday of my young life. I love the diversity of the city and because of it had many life lessons growing up. Through athletics and playing sports I made a lot of friends and because the City is home to such a wide range of people from different backgrounds and ethnicity’s, I was being cultured before I knew it.

WLLB: What neighborhood do you live? How long have you lived there? What do you enjoy about your neighborhood?
TD: I live in Bixby Knolls and have lived here off and on for most of my life. I went to the same schools my father attended 30 years earlier. Though I moved out of Long Beach for college I ended up coming back, like so many other folks from Long Beach. A vast majority of people that live in Long Beach are from Long Beach and are pridefully of the City. This is true for Bixby Knolls and for the City of Long Beach in general. Long Beach natives are prideful of being from Long Beach and it is a pretty special feature that seems to always pull you back!
  

WLLB: What do you do for work, why did you choose your vocation?

TD: I am the co-founder of a full-service experiential/marketing marketing agency. After personally landing a sponsorship deal with Nike is 2003, a unique gig filled with a ton of marketing and promotional work for Nike Soccer: public appearances, performances, campaign ads and promotional videos. It pulled me away from pursuing a playing career, yet created a path for success after I gained invaluable experience through my involvement in endless amounts of marketing initiatives and awareness campaigns. The knowledge and relationships were valued and heavily sought after by brands building marketing initiatives around the sport of soccer in the United States. After year’s of contract work as a soccer-specialist I decided to launch ACF, Inc in 2009. 
  

WLLB: Why do you think it is important to know and care about your neighbors?

TD: The better the relationships you have with you neighbors the more you can benefit from living in a location. From feeling safer to having richer daily experiences, having strong relationships with your neighbors makes your “home” that much more satisfying. 

WLLB: Do you take pride in living in Long Beach? Why or why not?

TD: Yes! It was instilled in me by my Father. Again, it is special to have roots in a City and then have pride in helping it grow and prosper.

WLLB: Do you have any gifts, skills, and talents that you could share with the neighborhood? If so what might some of them be?

TD:The slogan for my company is “we create experiences that build meaningful relationships” and alot of our work revolves around live events. I am obviously focused on growing an annual youth futsal tournament at the moment for the youth in the City but would love to provide my skill sets to help create other events and experiences in the City.

WLLB: What are your hopes or dreams for your neighborhood?

TD:I am very pleased to see the direction Bixby Knolls is headed. I think at large Long Beach is headed in the right direction. As an owner of a small-business in Long Beach I feel like the City should continue to support start-ups and the creative community because it is the perfect fit for Long Beach and there is a ton of potential with this strategy. 

WLLB: What is your favorite place in Long Beach? And Why?

TD:Any park in Long Beach. For me it is where I experienced community as a kid and it was very special to me. I know firsthand how wonderful a good experience at you local park can and SHOULD be. I see the future of the City in the Parks and want to help them both flourish.

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If you know any amazing NEIGHBORS like Tim, then let us know. Maybe they show hospitality to their neighbors, share stuff with their neighbors, care for a sick neighbor, celebrate the neighborhood, or are  just super loving and friendly to their neighbors. We would love to interview them about their incredible neighborgood experience. So please connect us to them.

Interested please email me: scott@welovelb.org or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/welovelongbeach

Good Day, Neighbour!

Having immigrated to Canada from the United Kingdom in 2012, Michael Hamilton and his family didn’t know a soul when they moved into the Highlands community in June of 2013. Several weeks later, they received a visit from a neighbour up the street. She introduced herself as the Block Connector and had dropped by to welcome the Hamiltons to the neighbourhood.

“She had a questionnaire and asked us what our interests were, our hobbies,” says Hamilton in his thick Yorkshire accent. “The visit made us feel welcome and the questionnaire helped us connect to others in the neighbourhood.”

The friendly visit and questionnaire were part of a pilot project, the Abundant Community Initiative, whose goal is to strengthen the social fabric of the neighbourhood. It’s what Howard Lawrence, who was contracted by the city to lead the initiative, calls “building a culture of connections.”

The formula is simple enough. Make your neighbourhood safer, more vibrant and dynamic by getting to know your neighbours.

With support from the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues and the City of Edmonton, Lawrence and an army of volunteers set out in January 2013 to take an inventory of who lived in Highlands and, more importantly, what their skills and interests were.

It’s an asset-based approach that taps into what residents can offer in order to build stronger and more sustainable neighbourhoods. 

“People are drawn together when they can participate in an activity that matches their skills, interests and passions,” says Lawrence. “It’s also a shift in thinking away from volunteerism and toward neighbourliness. Why do I shovel my neighbour’s walk? Because I’m a neighbour, not a volunteer. What we’re trying to do is build neighbourliness back into the community.”

Connection is at the heart of The Abundant Community. It starts with Connector Coordinators — residents who already know a lot of people in the neighbourhood make great candidates for coordinators, a role that entails identifying and organizing Block Connectors.  

The job of the Block Connector is to visit every resident on an assigned block to initiate a conversation, using the questionnaire as a guide. That conversation focuses on your vision for your neighbourhood, what activities and interests you have, and what gifts, abilities and experiences you possess. Once all the questionnaires are complete, the Connector Coordinator compiles the data and connects residents who have common interests.

“Sharing gifts and talents is important,” says Lawrence. “People love to share their gifts. We don’t ask ‘what do you need?’ We ask, ‘what can you offer?’ and, in that way, it gives residents the power to shape their neighbourhood.”

In Highlands, several groups have formed as a result, including a lawn bowling group and a new mom’s group, along with soccer and hockey teams.

For Hamilton, it was hockey that helped him bond with the community. He was introduced to the quintessentially Canadian game as a lad growing up in the U.K. “Being Brits, we weren’t very good, but we liked playing,” he says. “It’s great playing here. The guys, we meet every Thursday for a fun game of shinny.” 

When he needed a notary public, he was put in touch with a neighbourhood lawyer who offered his services at no charge. In return, Hamilton, a carpenter by trade, is more than happy to give back to the community by offering his skills.

The model works well in Edmonton because the city already has a basic framework in place in the form of community leagues. The City provides administrative and organizational support and is eager to see the initiative grow.

“We are in phase two of the project and are assessing eight other communities, including Oliver. A whole lot more have expressed interest,” says Lawrence. 

He is optimistic about the role the Abundant Community Initiative can play in shaping and strengthening our neighbourhoods. “It’s a workable structure that, in the end, celebrates strength and diversity. People are more invested in and more emotionally attached to their neighbourhood, which, in turn, makes it safer, stronger and a more inclusive community.”

Neighborgood Interview #2: Meet Sheryl

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(Interview BY SCOTT JONES, Executive Director of We Love LB)

We Love LB’s VISION is to Inspire & Equip Neighbors toward the GOOD & the FLOURISHING of all neighborhoods in Long Beach, Ca.

One way we can seek neighborhood FLOURISHING is by getting to know, learn, & be INSPIRED by our fellow neighbors around us. Our second interview is with our good friend Sheryl Uglis-Navarro. We HOPE you enjoy!

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We Love LB: Where did you grow up? Did you and your family know your neighbors?

Sheryl: Chesterfield, Michigan (about an hour north of Detroit) is where I grew up. It was a small town and we knew most of our neighbors.

WLLB: What neighborhood do you live in now? How long have you lived there? What do you love about your neighborhood?

SUN: We live in the Cliff May Ranchos, near Spring and Studebaker, and have lived here for approximately 8 years. I love the amazing architecture, friendly neighbors, and proximity to El Dorado Park.


WLLB: What do you do for work, what do you love about it?

SUN: I am a 6th grade teacher and love that I can build a community within my classroom and teach the students about the importance of helping one another.


WLLB: Why do you think it is important to know your neighbors?

SUN: I feel that safety is one of the biggest reasons to know your neighbors; when someone becomes a friend they tend to be vested in your well being.


WLLB: What do you and your neighbors do to get to know each other?

SUN: Although many of our houses are surrounded by 6’ walls there is a great sense of community here. The Cliff May Ranchos have many activities going on throughout the year such as: roving cocktail parties, block parties, fruit/vegetable exchange, a yahoo group,  kickball team, someone is writing down the stories told by the original owners, and most recently the We Love Long Beach Ice Cream Social which brought over 60 neighbors together. But, the thing I see most is neighbors hanging out in front of their homes chatting.  

WLLB: What advice would you give someone who doesn’t know their neighbors, but wants to?

SUN: Walk outside your front door and garden or pick up trash - you’d be surprised how many people will stop and chat.


WLLB: Can you share a cool story from your neighborhood?

SUN: An original owner (80 years old) told me that there used to be a farm where El Dorado Park is now located and when they wanted to relocate the cows they airlifted them out. I wouldn’t have believed it if other neighbors hadn’t confirmed his story.

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Thanks Sheryl for your amazing wisdom & insight into the ART of neighboring well. We are all better for it.

If you know any amazing NEIGHBORS like Sheryl, then let us know. Maybe they show hospitality to their neighbors, share stuff with their neighbors, care for a sick neighbor, celebrate the neighborhood, or are  just super loving and friendly to their neighbors. We would love to interview them about their incredible neighborgood experience. So please connect us to them.

Interested please email me: scott@welovelb.org or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/welovelongbeach

Neighborgood Interview #1: Meet Jeff

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(Interview BY SCOTT JONES, Executive Director of We Love LB)

We Love LB’s VISION is to Inspire & Equip Neighbors toward the GOOD & the FLOURISHING of all neighborhoods in Long Beach, Ca.

One way we can seek neighborhood FLOURISHING is by getting to know, learn, & be INSPIRED by our fellow neighbors around us. Our first interview is with our good friend Jeff Anderson. We HOPE you enjoy!

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Scott Jones: Where did you grow up? Did you and your family know your neighbors?

Jeff Anderson: No matter where I lived we always knew our neighbors. In Rose Park neighborhood, in Long Beach, we knew more neighbors than any area I’ve ever lived in. 

SJ: What neighborhood do you live in now? How long have you lived there? What do you love about your neighborhood?

JA: We Live in the Park Estates neighborhood as of Feb 2014. We love the quiet, the tree lined streets, the beautiful homes, yards and our neighbors. 

 SJ: What do you do for work, what do you love about it?

JA: I am the owner of Anderson Real Estate Group in Long Beach.  I love helping people achieve their real estate goals.  Buying and selling real estate is an extremely stressful process and we love helping make it easy for first time buyers, as well as seasoned investors.  It also allows us to meet the most amazing people. 

 SJ: Why do you think it is important to KNOW your neighbors?

JA: Neighbors make up the fabric of a community.  Neighbors often have something in common that brought them there, and once you connect with them on a personal level you often are there to help one another.  It might be picking up their newspaper and mail while they travel, reminding them to move their car on street sweeping day, or borrowing the egg you need for that last minute meal.

 SJ: What do you and your neighbors do to get to know each other?

JA: Usual is through someone hosting a party or dinner with neighbors.  We attend neighborhood functions to get to know other neighbors, and most recently, use the Nextdoor.com site to connect with neighbors beyond our street, but in the same area.

 SJ: What advice would you give someone who doesn’t know their neighbors, but wants to?

JA: It’s easy to say “hi”…right?  Say it to everyone on your block, also give them a compliment.  Oh, I just love your yard, or house, or car, or something you connect with them on.  Before you know it, you’ll know all your neighbors on your block and beyond.  Attend any and all neighborhood events.  Get involved in volunteering in your community.

 SJ: Can you share a cool story from your neighborhood experience that moved you or another neighbor?

 JA: I’ve been involved in many tree planting efforts throughout Rose Park over the past eight years.  If I had to guess we’ve planted more than 200 trees.  I love driving past the trees we’ve planted and seeing them mature and what a difference tree lined streets make.  It’s really sweet to see how we made a difference, and adding something to the neighborhood that will be there for years to come.

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Thanks Jeff for your amazing wisdom & insight into the ART of neighboring well. We are all better for it.

If you know any amazing NEIGHBORS like JEFF ANDERSON, then let us know. Maybe they show hospitality to their neighbors, share stuff with their neighbors, care for a sick neighbor, celebrate the neighborhood, or are  just super loving and friendly to their neighbors. We would love to interview them about their incredible neighborgood experience. So please connect us to them.

Interested please email me: scott@welovelb.org or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/welovelongbeach

Great Book:The Abundant Community… Long Beach?

Hey LB: Do you like community and do you enjoy reading? Then check out this book, and let us know what you think. We would love to hear from you.

We have enough right here in LB despite all the talk of lack and scarcity. We need begin by getting to know one another’s gifts and passions. We need to be willing to learn from one another and teach one another. We need to create quality time for one another, not just events and entertaining guests, but conversation that builds trust and allows for honesty and vulnerability.

This is the “Heart” of We Love Long Beach.  We invite you to the table to break bread and sup with us, because we need each other more than we ever thought, hoped, or dreamed.  We need to invite one another into the mess and joy that is our lives at times, to be welcomed, listened to, and accepted.

Maybe this book and others can be the hinge to the door that opens up our lives to one another. It might be a place where we sense, maybe even for the first time belonging and love. These things take time and patience, but in the end what could be better?

Wendell Berry’s 17 Rules for a Sustainable Community

Wendell Berry’s 17 Rules for a Sustainable Community


Wendell Berry is a strong defender of family, rural communities, and traditional family farms. These underlying principles could be described as ‘the preservation of ecological diversity and integrity, and the renewal, on sound cultural and ecological principles, of local economies and local communities:

1. Always ask of any proposed change or innovation: What will this do to our community? How will this affect our common wealth.

2. Always include local nature – the land, the water, the air, the native creatures – within the membership of the community.

3. Always ask how local needs might be supplied from local sources, including the mutual help of neighbors.

4. Always supply local needs first (and only then think of exporting products – first to nearby cities, then to others).

5. Understand the ultimate unsoundness of the industrial doctrine of ‘labor saving’ if that implies poor work, unemployment, or any kind of pollution or contamination.

6. Develop properly scaled value-adding industries for local products to ensure that the community does not become merely a colony of national or global economy.

7. Develop small-scale industries and businesses to support the local farm and/or forest economy.

8. Strive to supply as much of the community’s own energy as possible.

9. Strive to increase earnings (in whatever form) within the community for as long as possible before they are paid out.

10. Make sure that money paid into the local economy circulates within the community and decrease expenditures outside the community.

11. Make the community able to invest in itself by maintaining its properties, keeping itself clean (without dirtying some other place), caring for its old people, and teaching its children.

12. See that the old and young take care of one another. The young must learn from the old, not necessarily, and not always in school. There must be no institutionalized childcare and no homes for the aged. The community knows and remembers itself by the association of old and young.

13. Account for costs now conventionally hidden or externalized. Whenever possible, these must be debited against monetary income.

14. Look into the possible uses of local currency, community-funded loan programs, systems of barter, and the like.

15. Always be aware of the economic value of neighborly acts. In our time, the costs of living are greatly increased by the loss of neighborhood, which leaves people to face their calamities alone.

16. A rural community should always be acquainted and interconnected with community-minded people in nearby towns and cities.

17. A sustainable rural economy will depend on urban consumers loyal to local products. Therefore, we are talking about an economy that will always be more cooperative than competitive.