In our first full year we've learned a lot and have clarified our vision. Our goal is that within five years SoCe, our neighborhood of 11,000 people, will have a volunteer Block Connector on every block. These Block Connectors will connect the gifts, assets, and abilities of the approximately 20 households on their block to a larger network of neighbors. SoCe Life staff will be assigned to support 50 Block Connectors with resources and encouragement.
We also envision a common workspace within the neighborhood where neighbors can come together for workshops and trainings, building relationships, sharing skills and strengthening the community.
Our clarified vision for SoCe comes from the model of Abundant Community Edmonton in Alberta, Canada. They have inspired our new vocabulary.
Social Capital - Social capital in a community contributes to the health and resilience of the community. High social capital leads to less child neglect, less domestic violence, increased disaster preparedness, lower crime rate, and less need of outside care for the elderly and neighbors with disabilities. Social Capital increases as relationships and connectedness between neighbors increases.
Block Connector - a volunteer who meets the people in the 16-20 houses on their street. This person acts as a leader to engage and encourage neighbors to meet each other. Sometimes there might be 2-3 Block Connectors working together on a particular block.
Neighborhood Animator - a neighbor who identifies, trains, and supports 25-50 Block Connectors. The Neighborhood Animator is a part-time position of approximately 10 hours/week. The first two Neighborhood Animators will be SoCe Life staff.
Connect Group - We used to call this an Affinity Group. It is simply a group of neighbors coming together around a common interest (ex. gardening, quilting, crafts, yoga, reading). These groups meet as frequently as they want.
Connect Group Leader - a person identified by their Block Connector as someone who is willing to lead or teach an activity to a group of neighbors. Neighborhood Animators assist Connect Group Leaders in organizing and leading their group if needed.