Jen McClung

Love Your Hood Challenge No. 008

Challenge No. 008: Bring Treats

Miss the background on what the Love Your Hood Challenge is all about? Check it out here.

#LoveYourHoodChallenge

Once upon a time, neighbors welcomed newcomers to their neighborhood with baked goods and dishes of food in hand. Nowadays, it’s not uncommon for a new neighbor’s arrival to go completely unnoticed.

Challenge No. 008:

Bring a treat.

It’s hard not to spread good vibes with a treat in hand. Whether you want to welcome a new neighbor, help out new parents, or reach out to someone that’s shut-in, food (and drinks) are an incredibly kind gesture. This challenge can be as simple as you’d like. Here are a few ideas of different treats one of your neighbors might appreciate:

Bring a yummy treat.

Sometimes simple is best. A few months ago, I (Jen) was mixing up a batch of cookies with our kids. Instead of eating them all ourselves (three kids can do that rather quickly), we decided to bring a plate down to an older neighbor. She was beside herself with this small gesture! It was a great excuse to share something we were already making with someone else. Consider sharing a treat you’re already planning on making with a neighbor to brighten their day and keep it easy for you!

Offer a meal.

Know some new parents? Anyone renovating and without a working kitchen? Folks that aren’t able to leave the house easily? A family in a bustling or stressful season of life? Someone that’s just gotten out of the hospital? A neighbor that’s often alone? Just like us, they need to eat. Receiving a homemade meal will likely mean the world to them. Not a cook? Send some take-out instead.

Have drinks in hand.

Noticed a neighbor’s been working hard on a project outside or in their garage? Grab a few beers and head over to share a drink (and maybe even a hand).

How to enter

Get creative! Each month we’ll choose our favorite post and give away some Love Your Hood swag. Here’s how to play:

Document your experience

Snap a photo (or take a video) of you taking on challenge no. 008!

Want to enter for a chance to win the grand prize? Save these photos someplace you can find them as you’ll be using them again!

Three ways to enter

Follow us on Instagram or Facebook or sign up for emails to find out if you’ve won and when the next challenge is open!

 

See official rules for more details.

Enter the Challenge + Get inspired

Upload a photo or video to show us how you’re taking on challenge no. 008!

Previous Challenges

Miss a challenge? Not a problem! It’s not too late to complete them and enter for a chance to win the grand prize.

Need a neighbor grid and challenge checklist?

Print the grid.

Love Your Hood Challenge No. 007 - Be Kind

Challenge No. 007: Be Kind

Miss the background on what the Love Your Hood Challenge is all about? Check it out here.

#LoveYourHoodChallenge

Take a glance at social media, traffic jams, or the latest political election and the first word to come to mind likely isn’t kindness. As etiquette and compassion become less commonplace we have the chance to be a ray of light in an oftentimes harsh world.

Love All People | Love Your Hood

Challenge No. 007:

Be kind.

Not only is kindness good for society, it’s good for our own well-being. Our mental and physical health, relationships, life satisfaction, and community can all be improved by simply being kind to others. It’s a win-win! Here are a few ways of how you can show kindness to your neighbors:

Be present.

When you walk down the street these days, it’s rare to be greeted with smiles of passersby. Instead of looking where we’re going and taking notice of what and who is around us, we’re often buried in our phones. Change the norm by putting away your phone and smiling at the people you pass. Get ambitious and say hello!

Love Your Hood Challenge | Be Kind

Be courteous.

While many of these idea go hand-in-hand, it’s worth saying that good manners never go out of style! Hold a door for the person behind you, let someone go ahead of you at a stop sign, offer up your seat, shut their garage door when your neighbor leaves it open, say please and thank you, throw in a sir or ma’am to top it off!

Say nice things.

Most people are friendly in person. But then there’s social media. The online community for your neighborhood might look more like a battlefield than viewing an afternoon tea. Challenge yourself to refrain from divisiveness and instead replace it with encouraging words that build others up. Not ready for that? Just remember it was once said that,

if you have nothing nice to say, then say nothing at all!

Love Your Hood Challenge | Be Kind

But what about the neighbor’s that are causing real problems in our lives? Living next to people can be challenging! Instead of reporting issues to your building’s property manager or the city, consider approaching your neighbors politely first (if it’s a non-threatening issue!). Take Candice Benbow for example, a lady who had issues with her neighbor’s loud music. She approached the issue with kindness instead of anger. Taking the high road not only helped with the music, but it opened the door to meeting her neighbor and a dear friendship!

 

You’ll probably notice none of these ideas are terribly difficult to implement. They take very little time to add into our life, but are easily lost in the shuffle — especially when we’re rushed or stressed. But putting these ideas into practice can create waves of kindness that reach far and wide!

BONUS Challenge: Want to take this challenge to the next level? Here are a few resources to pique your interest:

How to enter

Get creative! Each month we’ll choose our favorite post and give away some Love Your Hood swag. Here’s how to play:

Document your experience

Snap a photo (or take a video) of you taking on challenge no. 007! We know this can be an odd challenge to capture, so get creative!

Want to enter for a chance to win the grand prize? Save these photos someplace you can find them as you’ll be using them again!

Three ways to enter

Follow us on Instagram or Facebook or sign up for emails to find out if you’ve won and when the next challenge is open!

 

See official rules for more details.

Enter the Challenge + Get inspired

Upload a photo or video to show us how you’re taking on challenge no. 007!

Previous Challenges

Miss a challenge? Not a problem! It’s not too late to complete them and enter for a chance to win the grand prize.

Need a neighbor grid and challenge checklist?

Print the grid.

Love Your Hood Challenge No. 006 - Grill Together

Challenge No. 006: Grill Together

Miss the background on what the Love Your Hood Challenge is all about? Check it out here.

#LoveYourHoodChallenge

What’s one of the best parts of summer? Eating outdoors! Whether it’s a backyard BBQ, a picnic at the park, or s’mores by the campfire, enjoying food outside is just plain fun.

Challenge No. 006:

Grill together.

Food brings people together. And the outdoors is good for the soul. This challenge is about combining both of them and inviting your neighbors to join you for a meal outside!

Here are a few ideas to get you going:

Go simple.

Grab some beer or wine and invite your neighbors over for a drink on the porch. (Did you know we believe in this idea so much we hook up all our real estate clients with “Meet the Neighbor” gift packs?)

Love Your Hood Challenge No. 006 | Grill Together

Have lots of kids nearby (or adults that love a cool treat)? Grab some ice cream or another fun summer treat and head outdoors to enjoy together.

BBQ in the backyard.

You can’t go wrong with backyard (or rooftop) dining!

Love Your Hood Challenge No. 006 | Grill Together

Picnic at the park.

Head out to a park and picnic with your neighbors! Denver has a slew of free events, like outdoor concerts and movies, if you want to add some entertainment. Here’s a list of some free events to consider:

City Park, Denver | Love Your Hood

Have a block party.

Want to go all out? Gather your neighbors for a block party! Here are some ways to make it happen:

  • Host a block party: If a neighbor hasn’t already started one, consider initiating a party for your block! Head over to Denvergov’s website to get the details on throwing one — yes, you need a permit.
  • Denver Days: A program during the first week of August to encourage neighboring through block parties, picnics, and service projects.
  • National Night Out: An annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie that happens on the first Tuesday in August.

How to enter

Get creative! Each month we’ll choose our favorite post and give away some Love Your Hood swag. Here’s how to play:

Document your experience

Snap a photo (or take a video) of you taking on challenge no. 006!

Want to enter for a chance to win the grand prize? Save these photos someplace you can find them as you’ll be using them again!

Three ways to enter

Follow us on Instagram or Facebook or sign up for emails to find out if you’ve won and when the next challenge is open!

 

See official rules for more details.

Enter the Challenge + Get inspired

Upload a photo or video to show us how you’re taking on challenge no. 006!

Previous Challenges

Miss a challenge? Not a problem! It’s not too late to complete them and enter for a chance to win the grand prize.

Need a neighbor grid and challenge checklist?

Print the grid.

Challenge No. 005: Share What You Have

Miss the background on what the Love Your Hood Challenge is all about? Check it out here.

#LoveYourHoodChallenge

No one has everything. But everyone has something! This month we’re challenging you to share what you do have with your neighbors!

Love Your Hood Challenge No. 005 | Share What You Have

Challenge No. 005:

Share what you have.

Whether it’s time, a talent, or even some extra cash, make a point of sharing something you have with your neighbors. Feeling like none of those are feasible to give right now? Start with a smile or a kind word. Even just those two things can go a long way in making someone’s day a bit brighter!

 

Ideas to get you going:

  • Share a talent. Are you good at home repair projects? Fixing bikes? Painting? IT issues? Making a delicious home-cooked meal? Offer one of these to a neighbor that could benefit.Love Your Hood Challenge No. 005 | Share What You Have
  • Share your time. Know a neighbor that could use some company? What about another parent that could use a little break from their kids? A couple that just moved in that doesn’t know anyone yet? Challenge yourself to reach out to them and spend some time together.Love Your Hood Challenge No. 005 | Share What You Have
  • Share your stuff. Have a shed full of garden tools? Have books others might enjoy reading? Have 8,000,000 LEGO pieces a neighbor’s kid might like to play with? How about a cup of sugar? Allow what you’ve been blessed with to bless those around you.
  • Share your cash. Anyone around you having a rough time with some extra or unknown expenses? Love Your Hood Challenge No. 005 | Share What You Have

 

How to enter

Get creative! Each month we’ll choose our favorite post and give away some Love Your Hood swag. Here’s how to play:

Document your experience

Snap a photo (or take a video) of you taking on challenge no. 005!

Want to enter for a chance to win the grand prize? Save these photos someplace you can find them as you’ll be using them again!

Three ways to enter

Follow us on Instagram or Facebook or sign up for emails to find out if you’ve won and when the next challenge is open!

See official rules for more details.

Enter the Challenge + Get inspired

Upload a photo or video to show us how you’re taking on challenge no. 005!

Previous Challenges

Miss a challenge? Not a problem! It’s not too late to complete them and enter for a chance to win the grand prize.

Need a neighbor grid and challenge checklist?

Print the grid.

 

Love Your Hood Challenge No. 004 - Clean the Streets

Challenge No. 004: Clean the Streets

Miss the background on what the Love Your Hood Challenge is all about? Check it out here.

#LoveYourHoodChallenge

We believe that a city becomes great when we love the people we live next to and take pride in our shared spaces. While some of us may enjoy things being neat and tidy a teensy bit more than others, no one enjoys filth. In fact, it can be downright bad for our health. Taking the time to clean our sidewalks, alleys, and streets helps keep us, our kids, and our pets safer, minimizes trash and debris from polluting our sewers and drains, and is just plain good for the environment. More than the physical benefits, clean spaces are more inviting and refreshing than their debris filled counterparts.

Challenge No. 004:

Clean the streets.

What does keeping the shared spaces around us neat and tidy have to do with loving your neighbor? Because these spaces matter to everyone. And this challenge is all about doing our part — and not waiting for someone else to do it first. Taking the initiative to take care of what’s around us inspires others to do the same. Better yet, invite neighbors to join you!

Some ideas for tackling challenge no. 004:
  • Clean your alley. The street sweeping crew doesn’t normally hit alleys. And come spring they’re typically quite a mess. Head out back to pick up trash, pull weeds, and report graffiti. Here’s a list of items to have available to make clean-up a breeze: Alley Cleaning Tools + Supplies | Love Your Hood
  • Throw an alley cleaning party. Want to make alley cleaning fun and get to know your neighbors while doing it? Invite them to an alley cleaning party! While cleaning may not be our favorite family activity, our kids actually love alley cleaning days. Why? We do it with other people and always have donuts when we’re done. Want to throw your own alley cleaning party? Here’s an editable invite to download, print, and hand out to the neighbors that share your alley. You could even invite neighbors over for a treat afterwards! 
  • Pick up the park. Don’t have an alley or already have one that’s tidy? Head to another shared space in your neighborhood in need of some TLC and pitch in where you can. Whether it’s pulling weeds or picking up trash, there’s usually always a place that could use a little sprucing.
  • Do trash and recycling well. Trash is inevitable. Litter is not. Find out more about trash and recycling service and guidelines in Denver, what to toss in your purple bin, when your collection day is, and schedule reminders on Denvergov.org.
  • Clean a storm drain. Have storm drains with grates? Cities like St. Paul, Minnesota have an Adopt-a-Drain Program to garner volunteers to clean storm drains for cleaner waterways and healthier communities. If there isn’t a program where you live, it doesn’t have to stop you from rolling up your sleeves and taking care of one by you. Not sure how? Read these tips to keep it clean and safe.
  • Get rid of graffiti. Find some unwanted “artwork” while cleaning up? Make sure to report it and remove it before it multiplies. Denver offers a guide for reporting and removing graffiti on public and private property, graffiti prevention tips, and access to free materials to remove it from your property. Want help from the city to remove it? Jump over and grab an authorization form.
  • Include your kids. If you have kids, bring ’em with you! Teaching kids good stewardship is worth the extra time it takes to do a chore — crazy toddlers included. Clean the Streets | Love Your Hood

BONUS Challenge: Already have sparkly clean streets? We have more ideas for you! 

  • Join Denver’s composting challenge. Did you know organic materials make up more than 50% of what Denver residents send to the landfill every year? Help us turn this “trash” back into dirt by ordering a green bin for the cost of a couple coffees a month. Don’t have enough compost to fill it? Go halfsies with a neighbor to save money and the Earth.
  • Adopt a highway. Already have a shiny clean neighborhood? Think bigger! Organize a group to adopt a section of highway to keep clean through Colorado Adopt a Highway or a program in your own state or county.
  • Adopt a spot. Want to take care of a particular spot in Denver other than a highway? Check out Denver’s Adopt a Spot Program. Sign up with your school, business, civic group, church, or even your family to maintain a stretch of road, alley, or open area for one year.

How to enter

Get creative! Each month we’ll choose our favorite post and give away some Love Your Hood swag. Here’s how to play:

Document your experience

Snap a photo (or take a video) of you taking on challenge no. 004!

Want to enter for a chance to win the grand prize? Save these photos someplace you can find them as you’ll be using them again!

Three ways to enter

Follow us on Instagram or Facebook or sign up for emails to find out if you’ve won and when the next challenge is open!

 

See official rules for more details.

Enter the Challenge + Get inspired

Upload a photo or video to show us how you’re taking on the challenge of cleaning up your street.

Previous Challenges

Miss a challenge? Not a problem! It’s not too late to complete them and enter for a chance to win the grand prize.

Need a neighbor grid and challenge checklist?

Print the grid.

Coray

Englewood, Colorado

When I (Rebecca) first met Coray while doing my grad school internship for a non-profit, I immediately knew she was someone who was changing the world. Since then, I’ve had the privilege of helping her buy her first home. She has always cared so much about her neighbors, community, friends, and people in general. What I admire so much about her is how she lives it out and somehow, she manages to do all of this while traveling to India throughout the year while also fostering precious kiddos. You are in for a treat below by getting to know a little bit more about who she is and how she is changing her neighborhood, and I hope she inspires you to love your hood.
Coray | Englewood, CO | Love Your Hood
What inspired you to become a foster mom?

I’ve always wanted to work with kids in need as long as I can remember. As a child I wanted to be an orphanage mom. As I grew up my dreams changed and adapted but the desire to be a mom to kids who are in need of love and a safe home has always remained. For a long time I said I’d do it when I got married. But I really felt that this was my calling. Not my calling when or if I get married. Just my calling period.

So at the beginning of last year I started the process and was certified this past fall. There has been nothing shocking about it. It’s been just what I’ve expected and hoped for. My first little love was a three month old boy. Everything about that transition into momhood felt so natural and normal. I came alive. It fit perfectly. He only stayed with me a few weeks before they found his sister who had been adopted out of the system. The family that adopted her wanted to adopt him, so he left. Then I was out of the country for work. When I came home, I got my current foster son. This one did not feel quite so natural or easy. He’s a very developmentally delayed four year old and we’ve had our challenges. I’m exhausted. But at the same time it’s even more rewarding this time around. The growth I have seen in him in the past month is just mind blowing. He is learning so much so fast and I’m so excited to see what he will do in the world.

What is the best thing about fostering?

The best part of being a foster mom is loving the little ones. The sweet moments. Last night my foster son was having a hard time with me leaving his room at bed time. So I cuddled him a bit longer and then said I’d sit in my room where he could see me. He grabbed my face with both little hands and cried pitifully, “But not your faaaceee!” It’s those moments where I can give him just what he needs and let him look at my face and know that I’m there and I’m not leaving him. Those are the best.

What’s the hardest thing about fostering?

The hardest part is that I haven’t parented my child from birth. I’m currently going through developmental stages that range from ages 0 to 4 all in one child. I’m introducing the idea of obedience. I’m introducing quiet time in the afternoon and an early bedtime at night. Having a child who has years of habits that go against my values or how I run my house — that’s really hard. The hardest piece of it the lack of ability to listen because it’s often a safety issue and really limits what we are able to do.

They say, “it takes a village.” Have your neighbors been a part of your village?

It definitely takes a village! That’s the name of my group that I created on Facebook to share with friends about my foster loves. I truly know that I cannot do it alone. Most of my village is from my church. But I have one neighbor who has just been phenomenal. She lives across the street and is such a gift in my life. When I’m sick, she brings soup. When I’m out of groceries, she asks if she can shop for me. When it’s my birthday and I just got a new high needs foster son, she comes over and makes me fondue to celebrate me even though she’s pregnant and sick. I have another almost neighbor (a few blocks away) who takes the dog, asks how she can help, and offers me meals. Another a few blocks up the street who brought me flowers when my foster son arrived. I love where I live. And I love my neighbors and that they have chosen to dive into life with me.

Roughly 90% of the population doesn’t know their 8 closest neighbors. You’re in the 10% that does. Any tips for getting to know your neighbors for someone that doesn’t know where to start?

For me, it’s simple. I don’t love going out and I’ve always wanted to live near people I’m friends with. The way to do that is to become friends with my neighbors!  When I moved in I made a point to meet everyone. I took people cookies, I invited people over, I hosted block parties. But mostly I just said, “hi.” I was a little bit of a creeper, looking out my window frequently. When I saw a neighbor walk by I’d pop outside and greet them. I was eager — which we’re often afraid to be. We don’t like to look too eager. But my neighbors appreciated it and responded. And we spent time together and developed friendships. The first winter I’d shovel for my neighbors sometimes. Just try to send the message that I like them and want to be friends.

How has knowing your neighbors impacted your life?

Knowing my neighbors has been great. They’re so different from me. I really value having a varied community. People who bring different gifts to the table. Heidi brings peace and laughter. Kristen brings kindness and generosity. Bridget brings a passion for justice. Dan checks my basement for intruders. You know. You need the whole crew. It’s been a blessing for sure.

If someone was considering fostering or wanted to better support the people that foster, what would you most like to share with them?

I’d tell them to just jump into any info class! If you’re considering it, my belief is you should do it. Because very few people even consider it. So if it’s on your heart, you were probably made for it. I go through Bethany Christian Services and they have great classes. They also do a great job of answering any questions you may have. But I also know there are many other organizations that are happy to answer your questions as well. Also ask me or any other foster parent any question you want. We’re always happy to answer them and share the beautiful mess of fostering with you.

If someone is looking to better support those they know who are fostering, that’s easy. We want food. And clean houses. And we want breaks from our kids. But our kids are messy and complicated and we’re not always quick to ask people to step into that. We also want our kids to have a village. We want them to have other adults besides us who love them and know them and give them boundaries and bless them. The key is offering. So offer away. The worst we can do is say no. But it’s more likely we’ll say, can you offer again tomorrow, if today doesn’t work for us. Also, accept our chaos. Let our kids be loud and disobedient at church and don’t judge us. Understand that even we don’t fully know what our kids have experienced in life and it’s been hard and left scars on their hearts. Don’t expect silence, stillness, good listening, or good choices.

Inspired by Coray?

Join the Love Your Hood Challenge — neighboring challenge to help you get to know your neighbors and forge stronger communities! Challenge No. 001 is all about knowing who your neighbor is and challenge No. 003 will start you on the path to being the village to the families near you.

Love Your Hood Challenge No. 003 - Love their Kids

Challenge No. 003: Be the Village

Miss the background on what the Love Your Hood Challenge is all about? Check it out here.

Love Your Hood Challenge No. 003 - Love Their Kids

They say it takes a village. Yet for many people, the village feels non-existent. This didn’t use to be the case. These days lots of parents are raising kids away from extended families. And while they may have some friends to fill in here and there, it mostly feels like they’re flying solo. On top of that, our judgmental and overly-busy society has led to many people becoming scared to offer help, nervous to ask for it, and lots and lots of loneliness. A happy, healthy, thriving community requires that we invest in each other, including each others’ kids.

How do we change this?

Challenge No. 003:

Be the village.

Instead of waiting for there to be the village, this challenge is about becoming the village.

Ways to love their kids: Here are a few ideas to be the village for the kids and parents in your neighborhood:

  • Bring them food. Know any new parents? While you can’t give them more sleep (unless you’re willing to watch their kids while they take a nap) you can help them with some other basics, like a delicious, healthy meal. Consider coordinating a Meal Train if someone hasn’t already. And don’t forget about breakfasts. Most people tend to bring dinners, but wholesome breakfasts like these oatmeal muffins are a hit with nursing moms and can be made for a whole week at a time.Love Your Hood Challenge No. 003 - Love Their Kids
  • Play with their kids. There is no easier way to show a kid you care than by taking time to have fun with them. Play LEGOS, shoot hoops, make art, break out some games.
  • Teach their kids. You don’t have to be a licensed teacher to share what you know with kids. Have a green thumb? Share your gardening skills. Love to work on cars? Include a teen that has a mechanical interest. Play the piano? Teach a kid that enjoys music. Love Your Hood Challenge No. 003 - Love Their Kids
  • Be supportive & encouraging. Kids need more than their parents to be positive role models in their lives. They need other people that are invested in them and their future. Build the kids up in your neighborhood. Be a safe place for them to come when they need. Encourage them. Cheer them on. Not only do kids need support and encouragement, but so do their parents! Be a shoulder to lean on, an ear to listen, a safe place where they can share struggles (and wins too!).

Ways to love their furry kids: Even pet parents need help from time to time. Here are a few ideas to be the village for your pet parent neighbors:

  • Take them for a walk. Noticed that your neighbors haven’t been out much to walk their dog lately? Perhaps they have a new baby, or a medical condition, or they’re just in a rough or busy season and they’re not able to get out as much. Offer a walk or even a trip to the dog park.Love Your Hood Challenge No. 003 - Love Their Kids
  • Pet sit. Whether it’s travel for work, vacation, or a hospital stay, it’s inevitable that pet parents will need help with care for their pets at some point. Offer to help watch their pets wherever everyone’s most comfortable.
  • Bring ’em a treat. Love giving gifts? Bring your neighbor’s pet a treat or toy to show you care.Love Your Hood Challenge No. 003 - Love Their Kids
  • Consider them as a pet and not a pest. Maybe you’re not feeling so loving towards your neighbors pets — especially their dog that they leave outside and tends to bark all. the. time. A great first step might be to talk to your neighbor directly about what’s happening, instead of lodging a formal complaint to the city. Say it’s a case of constant barking. It could be worth finding out why it’s happening and seeing if there’s anything you can do to help. There could be more to it than what’s seen!Love Your Hood Challenge No. 003 - Love Their Kids

BONUS Challenges: Here are some more great ideas for going above and beyond caring for kids and pets in your own neighborhood:

How to enter

Get creative! Each month we’ll choose our favorite post and give away some Love Your Hood swag. Here’s how to play:

Document your experience

Snap a photo (or take a video) of you taking on challenge no. 003!

Want to enter for a chance to win the grand prize? Save these photos someplace you can find them as you’ll be using them again!

Three ways to enter

Follow us on Instagram or Facebook or sign up for emails to find out if you’ve won and when the next challenge is open!

 

See official rules for more details.

Enter the Challenge + Get inspired

Upload a photo or video to show us how you’re taking on challenge no. 003!

Previous Challenges

Miss a challenge? Not a problem! You have ’til the end of the year to complete them and enter for a chance to win the grand prize.

Need a neighbor grid and challenge checklist?

Print the grid.

Love Your Hood Challenge No. 002 - Shovel Some Snow

Challenge No. 002: Shovel Some Snow

Miss the background on what the Love Your Hood Challenge is all about? Check it out here.

#LoveYourHoodChallenge

While many states are seeing signs of spring come March, Denver is entering its snowiest month of the year. And with snow, comes shoveling — something that by law needs to be removed within 24 hours of the white stuff coming down to make for safe walkways throughout town.

Challenge No. 002:

Head outside and shovel your neighbor’s walk.

Grab a coat and a shovel and head out to shovel for a neighbor! Have kids? Bring them too. It’s a great energy burner for those wintery days and it’ll help instill the value of serving others — double win!

While the act of kindness towards a neighbor alone is great, shoveling their walk provides an added bonus: a chance to meet new neighbors.

While capturing photos to promote this challenge, we were able to shovel for a few of our neighbors. We knew a few of the neighbors who we shoveled for, but not everyone. As we shoveled a sidewalk across the street, a man popped out to see what noise his dog was alerting him to. He noticed we were shoveling, was super appreciative and asked if he could pay us. Of course we declined, but said we’d love the chance to meet him instead! We shoveled our way up to his door and chatted for a while. Come to find out we have both lived in our homes for a decade! I (Jen) was cringing with embarrassment that it had taken so long for us to meet. But I was grateful for an excuse to be there and the chance to finally meet him. It was a great reminder that it is never too late to get to know the people you live closest to!

Alternatives: In case you live in a place that has more sand than snow, or you’re not physically able to get out, here are some other ways to still join in the March challenge:

  • Climate a problem? Hose off their dock, sweep a bit, or do something else to clean up a neighbor’s walkway when snow isn’t in your picture.
  • Physically not possible? Let it be your challenge to ask for help this month. There are so many people that would actually love to help out a neighbor, if only they knew what they could do! You can always thank them with a hot cup of cocoa or glass of iced tea!

 

BONUS Challenge: Just joining the challenge or looking to get your mind in the game? Read a book or listen to a podcast about neighboring to see what others have to say. A few ideas to pique your interest:

How to enter

Get creative! Each month we’ll choose our favorite post and give away some Love Your Hood swag. Here’s how to play:

Document your experience

Snap a photo (or take a video) of you taking on challenge no. 002!

Want to enter for a chance to win the grand prize? Save these photos someplace you can find them as you’ll be using them again!

Three ways to enter

Follow us on Instagram or Facebook or sign up for emails to find out if you’ve won and when the next challenge is open!

 

See official rules for more details.

Enter the Challenge + Get inspired

Upload a photo or video to show us how you’re taking on challenge no. 002!

Previous Challenges

Miss a challenge? Not a problem! It’s not too late to complete them and enter for a chance to win the grand prize.

Need a neighbor grid and challenge checklist?

Print the grid.

Love Your Hood Challenge No. 001 - Know Your Neighbor

Challenge No. 001: Know Your Neighbors

Miss the background on what the Love Your Hood Challenge is all about? Check it out here.

Love Your Hood - Love Your Neighbor

This challenge is an important one. It’s one that might take a while to complete — it’s to embrace that loving your neighbor is a worthwhile endeavor and to get to know the people that live closest to you. But, it’s hard to love the people around us when we don’t even know their names.

A whopping 90% of people don’t know the names of their eight closest neighbors.†

For real! We want to help change that. So, first things first. We’re going to find out who lives next door. Here’s what that looks like:

Challenge No. 001:

Print out your neighbor grid and fill out who you know.

This grid is meant to represent your home (the heart) and your eight closest neighbors. Your street might not look like a grid, so pick the eight closest folks to you. If you live in a building, this could include the people that live next to you, as well as above and below you. (Because when someone’s toilet is leaking at 2 a.m. and you awake to water dripping on your head, it’s really handy to have their info — trust us!) We’ve even added a nifty checklist to keep track of all the challenges throughout the year.

So, what kinds of things should you fill out on your grid? Start with names. Once you know who lives there, add things you know, such as hobbies, what they do for work, pets, and so forth.

Already know everyone on your grid? 🙌 Keep on doing your thing and consider getting to know your next closest neighbors too!

Know Your Neighbor Grid

Print the grid

BONUS Challenge: Read a book or listen to a podcast about neighboring to get your mind in the game. A few ideas to pique your interest:

 

† The Art of Neighboring by Dave Runyon and Jay Pathak

How to enter

Get creative! Each month we’ll choose our favorite post and give away some Love Your Hood swag. Here’s how to play:

Document your experience

Snap a photo (or take a video) of you taking on challenge no. 001 (a photo of you and your grid is one idea)!

Want to enter for a chance to win the grand prize? Save these photos someplace you can find them as you’ll be using them again!

Three ways to enter

Follow us on Instagram or Facebook or sign up for emails to find out if you’ve won and when the next challenge is open!

 

See official rules for more details.

Enter the Challenge + Get inspired

Upload a photo or video to show us how you’re taking on challenge no. 001!

Mike + Linda | Arvada, CO | Love Your Hood Stories

Mike + Linda

Arvada, Colorado

Mike and Linda first met Deb through their church group, Friends 55+. Over the years, their friendship has grown as they have volunteered together in numerous areas at Peace Lutheran Church in Arvada.

Several years ago (when home prices weren’t sky high!) Deb had the privilege of helping Mike and Linda find a condo for their son. Finding the nest empty, the couple decided it was time to downsize from their large home. It didn’t take long for them to seize the opportunity to build a new, right-sized home and customize it to their preferences. Once they moved in, it didn’t take long for them to make new friends and serve their community (Mike is already the president of the neighborhood association). Now, Mike and Linda’s neighborhood and home are a great fit for them! This is their story:

Mike + Linda | Arvada, CO | Love Your Hood Stories

What made you fall in love with this house?

We wanted a patio home with a small community feel. We also wanted to stay in the area we were familiar with as didn’t want to leave our friends or church. The house we finally chose fit all our criteria. It has the room we need but small enough to easily maintain, being a patio home we no longer are in charge of our own lawn care or snow removal which we love.

What prompted you to move here?

We were looking for a smaller, ranch style home. At the time I was having difficulty with stairs due to arthritis and we had become empty nesters which meant we no longer needed a four bedroom house.

Is there a project you’re dying to start:

The house we chose was a new build but because I love to decorate I am always finding small projects to put our personal stamp on. I am now in the process of finding the style of beams we like to have installed in our living room. This will bring warmth and charm to our home.

Mike + Linda | Arvada, CO | Love Your Hood Stories
What most excites you about the neighborhood you’re moving into?

It was a small community, built by a two man partnership which gave all home owners the ability to make changes and the builders were very accommodating. Our community is very close knit and you can be assured someone is always willing you give you help when needed.

What are things in your new neighborhood that remind you of your hometown?

The small community feel and that everyone knows everyone. We are of all the same age which also gives us common interests, also most everyone feels comfortable in just popping in with no formal invite needed.

Mike + Linda | Arvada, CO | Love Your Hood Stories

What are some of your neighborhood favs?

We have lived around this community for the last 20 plus years so have seen many changes but we love the walking trails.

Mike + Linda | Arvada, CO | Love Your Hood Stories

We also love what has been done to the “Olde Town” portion of our city.

Mike + Linda | Arvada, CO | Love Your Hood Stories

Mike + Linda | Arvada, CO | Love Your Hood Stories

Who would you love to connect with in your neighborhood?

We have connected most with the folks in our community and since it is a small development we have gotten to know most everyone on more than a wave and hi as they walk by.