The Community GATE is your doorway to an amazing community, and we are glad you’re here!
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 realized that 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?
All of these situations are the keys to The Community 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 the neighbors near them, 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, in one of our local Facebook groups 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 this spring 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 surroundi ngs, 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 the Gate opens into:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 in dividual rather than dictated by a rule.
- 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 come together and flourish in building a community based simply on kindness and generosity. Such ideas have arisen before, sometimes utopian in nature and sometimes less grandiose, and there always seems to be an Achilles heel that ultimately halts their progress. So, in the spirit of avoiding such a fatal flaw, we will allow ourselves to grow and expand as gradually as necessary so that we can 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 replicable 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 different social aspects and various population differences, so we also seek to make every possible opportunity for those differences to flourish and bring success to the communities involved. 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 multiplying 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 this first group 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. 🙂
Community GATE Founder
“The sky is NOT the limit…there are footprints on the moon!”