mindaWould you like to hear about one easy tool I used that anyone can use for community building?  

For my first article in the last edition of Los Ranchos E-News, I shared about Just Doing Something in your community to help build relationships among neighbors.  I wrote about one thing I did, a wine and appetizer gathering in my front yard.  Before I decided upon hosting a wine and appetizer gathering, I had been praying about what I could do for my neighborhood.  Then one evening a couple months ago at Common Village’s Design Team meeting, John Birk, one of our Design Team leaders told us about this website he had found that was an online community creator called Nextdoor.  He said he had created an online community for his neighborhood in Dana Point.  Hearing about Nextdoor piqued my interest, because I had been praying for a next step to bless my neighborhood through community building. So that night after the meeting I went home, looked up Nextdoor and within a half an hour I had not only created an online community for my subdivision, I had requested the free service of sending out postcards by mail to the houses I selected.

Here is what Nextdoor writes about itself on its website:

Nextdoor is the private social network for you, your neighbors and your community. It’s the easiest way for you and your neighbors to talk online and make all of your lives better in the real world. And it’s free.

Thousands of neighborhoods are already using Nextdoor to build happier, safer places to call home.

People are using Nextdoor to:

Quickly get the word out about a break-in
Organize a Neighborhood Watch Group
Track down a trustworthy babysitter
Find out who does the best paint job in town
Ask for help keeping an eye out for a lost dog
Find a new home for an outgrown bike
Finally call that nice man down the street by his first name

Nextdoor’s mission is to use the power of technology to build stronger and safer neighborhoods.

Once I “created” my neighborhood, I named it “Barcelona” after my neighborhood’s housing tract name.  Nextdoor informed me that I had 549 households in my community.  Within a couple days, neighbors had accepted my invitation and wrote introductions on our “Barcelona” site.  Today I have 49 neighbors signed up with three new neighbors just joining up a couple hours ago. 

Here’s one introduction from a neighbor that came in recently, 

“Hi, I’m Barbara and I have lived in Barcelona since 1992, owned our home since 1998, great family neighborhood, located near everything. Love to see everyone out walking dogs, we walk ours too, hope to see you out there!”

After I initially created my online community for my neighborhood, I was surprised by the interest.  Then after people started joining and introducing themselves, I thought to myself, I have lived in my house for ten years and haven’t met most of these people. 

So, that is when I decided I was going to do something about it and host the wine and appetizer gathering.  One of the functions Nextdoor provides for you is the ability and ease to create neighborhood events.  To plan the event, I clicked on the “Events” button and I typed in my info and the event details.  It not only sent off the evite to all the members of “Barcelona,” it created a print version of the event that I passed out on my block.  Then after the event was over, I went back onto the site and I posted pictures of the event.  The guests that came responded by posting about their nice time. 

Here is one of the responses posted after our event:

“Hi Minda and Aaron,

Thank you so much for the great neighborhood event.  We really enjoyed being part of it and meeting so many nice people.  We are so looking forward to the next neighborhood gathering.


Leah, Silvia, and Matthias”

Because Nextdoor has been such as easy tool for building community, I was asked to share about it with all of you.  Nextdoor has been written up positively in the New York Times, ABC News, and the Wall Street Journal.

I would love to hear stories from anyone who decides to host an event in their neighborhood and/or starts using Nextdoor!  Email

In the next edition of Los Ranchos E-News I will be writing my third and last article of this series…how I am going about beginning a simple new worshiping community in my home.