What makes up a neighborhood? Is it the place? The people?
If you were to look up the definition of a neighborhood, it would be defined as: “A geographically localized community within a larger city, town, suburb or rural area.” Let’s be real, no one wants the textbook version. Let’s stop and think how each of us would describe a neighborhood.
Our definition of a neighborhood would be an area where people live and interact with one another. We believe that it is the people who make up a neighborhood.
What would a neighborhood be like if we weren’t greeted with “good mornings” and smiling faces? Would you still call it YOUR neighborhood if you never saw the same face twice while living there? If you never knew your neighbor, could you truly say you were a part of a neighbor-hood? The interactions with neighbors play a major role in creating a neighborhood.
How do these interactions get started? Just as people are essential to making a place – It is the resident LEADERS who are the glue of these interactions.
Resident leaders are those people who take responsibility for improving or protecting the well-being of their neighbors, and as a byproduct, themselves. They have the desire to make a difference. They want better for their neighborhood and are willing to step up and make it happen. Don’t you know that neighborhoods can thrive when residents use their voices, embrace leadership roles and build collective power?
True resident leaders are often not the loudest. They aren’t the frequent complainers.
Just like good leaders in any setting, they listen, care deeply about the voices of the people around them, they provide solutions, and practically consider themselves responsible for seeing these solutions implemented.
We challenge you today to ask yourself, who are the resident leaders of your neighborhood? If you were to imagine your best self, would you be a resident leader? What can you do today to improve or protect the well-being of your neighbors?
At Habitat for Humanity of Horry County, the Neighborhood Revitalization program partners with Focus Neighborhoods where we join a coalition of residents to seek a better quality of life for all who live there.
We look forward to working with a local neighborhood in the coming months, to help them reach their neighborhood goals.