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Have you ever looked around your neighborhood and wondered who lives two houses down from you? One house? Next door? Have
you ever cleaned out your garage and thought how you might be able to really bless someone with your extra stuff...if you only knew
who might need or want it? Have you ever sat down with your monthly bills, scratched your head and thought there really has to be a
better way to live than scraping for every dime just to spend it all on more stuff and mere survival? Would you prefer to support your
local community businesses with your resources and help local artisans and cottage industries to thrive, building healthy
neighborhoods full of successful individuals?

Here at the GATE, we share what we have, ask for things we need or want, and get to know our neighbors. How can you go wrong
when you base your actions and lifestyle on generosity and kindness, and respect for those around you? The truth is, our forebears
knew this very well. They understood the value of looking out for their neighbors, and in turn receiving the same watchful concern.
We have lost that to some degree in our modern era of security cameras, fast food, and full time jobs, as we have been taught to rely
on technology and the almighty dollar. But living is not about technology or dollars, it is not about secluding ourselves behind the walls
of our houses, oblivious to what goes on just two houses down. Or at least, it shouldn't be.

Recently we had a post from a member offering fresh apples, bread, oatmeal, drinks, etc., to anyone who might need them.  Another
member who is new to the area asked for a dinner buddy to meet for Pho, in order to meet more people in the community. We see
people asking for a ride somewhere or help with yardwork. Neighbors gifting a very worn dresser to someone who would like a fixer-
upper project, a set of picture frames they have nowhere to hang, or a beautiful dining table and chairs. There is no telling what you
will see being offered or requested. We have even had our neighbors tell us that when they had an unexpected bill and are short food
money, the Community Gate members rallied with offers of milk, bread, eggs, homemade soups and casseroles, macaroni and cheese,
and fresh vegetables. Yes, independence is a wonderful thing...but difficulties befall us all at one time or another, and we are seeing
our communities come together to support each other when those tougher times arrive.

We also look out for each other! Through community awareness and visibility, we discourage harmful activity in our neighborhoods
simply by letting passersby know that “we are here...and we see you”. By being involved, our neighborhoods grow stronger and safer
so that our families are safer, too.

This is what we are all about, getting involved in our community, offering valuable information on a great place to eat or an
inexpensive garage sale, sharing stories, swapping recipes and kind words of encouragement. As the gardening bug takes hold we also
enjoy helpful techniques passed along regarding planting times for vegetables and our personal gardening secrets, sharing seeds and
plant starts, and supporting the efforts of many to be more self-sustaining with fresh foods grown in their own yard.

In this age of electronics, we find people disconnected with what is happening in their neighborhood and community, so wrapped up
in what to watch, a computer game we are playing, texting to someone sitting right next to us, instead of engaging in conversations
with real people.  Like most things, there are good and not-so-good things about electronics, so we are finding the blessing in the way
online forums and communication can connect us to our neighbors. We can use these tools not to check out of our real-time
surroundings, but  to learn what is happening in our community and ways that we can make a positive difference!

So here we are. We invite you to be a part of this “Give And Take Experience” and see how it blesses YOUR community through you!
Here is a simple view of what we hope to achieve in the communities where the GATE swings open :

1. We promote, through our
local Facebook groups, an experience of gifting, sharing, and participating in the lives of our
communities and thus, our neighbors. Gifting and sharing might include the actual exchange of items between members, offering time
to help one another with tasks, providing information leading folks to products or services they need, or other various avenues of
support, as neighbors seek to honestly support those around them. We try to not impose limits in these areas because what may seem
frivolous to one person might be a true necessity to someone else. Information about new job openings, great bargains at a local store,
and advertising local services and small businesses all find their place here.

2. In all of our conduct, we promote kindness, generosity, and compassion. This commitment negates the need for a million rules
about what we can say and how to treat fellow members, because unfriendly, dishonest, or mean behavior can never fall into one of
these three categories. Communities are made up of so many different kinds of people from different cultures, different personal
backgrounds, and different socio-economic levels....like a colorful quilt, all segments of which provide warmth. We do not create
barriers based on any of these differences, but instead seek to remove such barriers by extending that collective warmth to all who
come.

3. What began as a small community group may, with time, expand as new members choose to carry our goals to their own
communities whether near or far, and our founding group will definitely support any such new groups that seek to branch out. In the
spirit of true community, we recognize that our neighborhoods do not stop at the end of our street, nor at the boundaries of our
particular city, but they extend to other areas our lives may touch. In this age of internet communication, friends in other states or
even other countries may be considered our far-flung neighbors, and the Community Gate will always be willing to swing open into
those areas where we are invited. In light of this, our groups do not necessarily cover cities by boundaries, but broader areas that may
include several cities working together. Members have access to a local map divided into color zones so that they can choose how far
to travel in order to participate, so that participation always remains up to the choice of the individual rather than dictated by a rule.

4. The Community Gate does not have a “hierarchy”. This group originally came about as an ideal that seemed almost unrealistic. It
seemed a bit far-fetched to believe that a group of people could possibly flourish in building a community based simply on kindness
and generosity. Such ideas have arisen before, sometimes Utopian in nature and sometimes less grandiose, but an Achilles heel always
seems to cripple their progress. In the spirit of avoiding such a fatal flaw, we allow ourselves to grow and expand as gradually as
necessary so that we avoid burning out because of internal conflict, external pressure, or personal pride. Our Founders are committed
to providing support and answering questions as clearly as possible to keep the Gate's goals clear and simple, while our Founding
Admin team also works hard to streamline each process here to be replicatable in other areas. As we learn what works best here in the
original Gate, we can better assist new groups that form. However, every area has various population differences, so we also seek to
make every possible opportunity for those differences to flourish. Our Community Leaders in new areas will have our full support and
ongoing technical assistance with things like Facebook techie issues, community promotion, and inviting new members to find us.
New ideas and creative solutions arise all over the place, just as certainly as tulips and daffodils multiply in a flower bed...we want
every Community Leader and member to feel accepted and valued because the heart of this entire venture revolves around its people.

Will this mission evolve? We certainly hope so. Will these first groups grow into many? That would be beautiful to see. Will our
communities prosper even more because of our presence and activities within them? If they do not, then the Community Gate is in
vain.

Here we stand at the beginning of something full of potential, building connections, hoping to bring blessing to those around us, and all
are invited to join us on this exciting journey! It is not an “experiment”, a “project”, or a “test”...it is an experience, and we hope it is a
great one for all involved!

Thank you again for being here...just leave the gate wide open behind you for the next visitor. :)

With Gratitude,
Lorrie and Scott, with the Community GATE Team


Visit
The main Community Gate website (please be patient, we are still in development!)...

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blog for current updates!

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