My neighbors woke me up at 6:56 this morning—they were laughing and playing while waiting for the school bus. In the afternoon, a few others wander over after a long day in the classroom. They stop by to pet the dog and ask about what we’re planting in the garden. On my way to work, I spot a cluster of toddlers clad in diapers, sitting with an older woman on her front porch. She laughs and smiles as they blow a raspberry at each other. Two more kids chase after each other on Big Wheel tricycles, while several others pass by on two-wheelers. I spotted a few adults tucked away on front porches, but this is largely a grown-up free zone.
Playing children, bubbling laughter, and sidewalks littered with faded yard toys are to be expected when a whopping 30% of the people in the neighborhood are 19 and under. In comparison with other areas of Lexington, I have the youngest neighbors (and some of the oldest buildings). This being the case, any effort to get to know my neighbors will involve finding ways to connect with kids. Whether it happens through art, board games, tutoring, or gardening, finding a place to share time with young people can make a lasting difference in your community.
Do you want to get to know your neighborhood’s youngest members? Try volunteering for an after-school program, asking a local middle school if they need tutors, or inviting your neighbors over for a cookout with kid-friendly games. Feeling uninspired? Check out these websites for some examples of how you can help: http://www.east7center.weebly.com, http://carnegieliteracy.org/, http://www.wwbrown.fcps.net/