Neighborhoods :: EveryBlock

Here at Park one of our core values is to renew the city of Chicago. We do this through neighborhood service projects, partnering with other churches or organizations in neighborhoods to hold events to raise awareness of issues, or just building and developing relationships with those in the community. We are also always looking for new ways to get involved in the neighborhoods in Chicago. This is where EveryBlock comes into play.

EveryBlock has only existed for a short-time and originally began in Chicago, but has since expanded into other major cities in the U.S. EveryBlock is basically a service that allows you to interact with people in your neighborhood and see what is happening. Everything from a robbery to the spotting of a deer in a front yard. I have been a member of the site for a while and have just recently began an account for Park. I am still exploring how best we can use the service as a church to be involved in the neighborhood.

I recently had the opportunity to talk to EveryBlock’s Community Manager, Becca Martin and get some insight into what their goals are online, how they are accomplishing those goals in neighborhoods, and how specifically churches and non-profits can use EveryBlock to get involved in their community. Check it out below…

What is the mission of EveryBlock?

Our mission is to help neighbors improve their neighborhoods. Our tag line is “Make your block a better place.”

How do you strive to accomplish this mission everyday?

We help neighbors improve their neighborhoods by providing them with a Web site where they can track what’s happening in their community, but most importantly, connect with their neighbors to discuss important issues, ask questions and share ideas. We try to create a respectful environment that allows everyone to feel welcome and respected.

How have you seen online community affect face-to-face neighborhood community?

We’ve seen a number of situations where neighbors have started discussions on EveryBlock ┬áthat have led to interactions in the real world. Some examples include the neighborhood clean-ups in Garfield Park and the Jefferson Park farmers’ market. Here are some examples:

How can organizations and non-profits effectively use EveryBlock to engage in their neighborhood?

Organizations and non-profits can use EveryBlock in several ways.

  • First, they can use it to build visibility for their organization by simply participating on the site as a concerned resident. This means posting comments, participating in conversations, etc. If they have completed their profile with information about their organization, this will help improve their visibility.
  • Neighborhood organizations and non-profits can also use the site to promote community events, request volunteers or ask for the community’s support on important neighborhood issues.

Like I said, we haven’t even began to scratch the surface of how EveryBlock can help us here at Park, but I am excited to continue to use the service and interact with those in our community, and how we can help them.

This also has huge implications for us as a multi-site church. We currently have 3 campuses in 3 different neighborhoods of Chicago. EveryBlock allows us to follow each neighborhood that we are located in and really get a feel for what is going on day-in and day-out in each neighborhood.

So whether you are multi-site or single-site church I think this site is going to have hug implications for you as you are involved in your neighborhood. Especially as they continue to expand to more cities.

So go sign-up for an account. If they aren’t in your city yet, just wait…they’ll get there.

How is your church involved in the community?

Do you use any online tools to assist you in this?

Leave a comment below…

Tags: , , , ,