In my societal commentary,”Orion … A Feline Metaphor for Hybrid Governance,” I proposed a hybrid type of governance as alternative to our current political malaise and civic ineptitude. At the center of this hybrid is the Community 3.0 Front Porch civic network. A Front Porch can be the local pub down the street or the coffee-house you get your morning the espresso from. It can be Bill’s garage where everyone hangs out to watch Sunday football games. It can even be your kitchen table. What happens on the Front Porch is what matters … not what it looks like or where it is.
The Front Porch’s purpose is to identify Solutions, whether they be in response of needs or opportunities. These Solutions are designed to help your community pick up the slack and mend its societal safety net. They can range from organizing a cleanup effort, to fixing a playground, to even spearheading a high school mentoring or apprentice program.
To get a more full understanding of the Community 3.0 Front Porch concept, please read the post, “Front Porches.“
As a part of the Community 3.0 platform we’ve put together a roster of several examples of what can come of collaborations in your community’s Front Porches. Imagine, take direct action … and this could be your community.
One of these examples is “I’m Not Alone Anymore.”
Elderly / Shut-in Well-being Assistance
One of the most difficult circumstances affecting families is the care of an elderly member. I remember when I was growing up in North Dakota thirty years ago, common practice was to put them in an “old folks home.” Or should I say commit them, commit them to their death. I hated visiting my grandmother in the Lutheran Home in Minot. Not because I didn’t want to see her, but rather the place. It was an abyss of hopelessness. Everyone there was just waiting, just waiting for the inevitable staring them in the face every morning … if they even dared to look in the mirror.
Often family members don’t live nearby. They’re states removed. And the patriarchs and matriarchs of the family don’t want to move. Often where they’re living, they’ve lived for decades. It’s the only place they know. What few friends they have left are nearby. The garden, the porch … it’s home.
The only other option is to put them in an “old folks home.” Often these “old folks” can take care of themselves with just a little assistance. It’s the younger family members want them sent away. It puts them at ease. This way they can tell themselves they’ve done something. But instead – what if that “something” was just that little assistance. It may only be by checking in on them every other day, making sure they’re taking their medication, washing the dishes, washing their clothes or making sure they have a supply of healthy food. Or much of time it may just be sitting down and having a cup of coffee or taking a walk around the neighborhood and listening … listening to stories of the way things used to be in time when things were simpler.
Being cut off from society is a killer for the elderly and shut-ins, literally. The less fortunate often have no family or friends around to make sure their basic needs are taken care of. They don’t have anyone to make sure they eat properly or take them to the doctor or get their medications. And that’s not even saying anything about mental support. Their likely future involves depression … or even premature death at home or worse yet, in an “old folks home.”
Through our program “I’m Not Alone Anymore,” Community 3.0 aims to not only help these forgotten people with their physical needs but also provide emotional support by bringing them back into the community. The weakest link of a community ultimately determines the health of the overall community. Through the “I’m Not Alone Anymore” initiate, the Merchants of Community 3.0 will organize their Contributors (customers) into squads of “Helpers of the Forgotten.” Even if just means a weekly visit for a cup of coffee … these people will not be forgotten for long.
The “Helpers” will organize through Community 3.0 Merchants. Step One will be to identify the elderly and disabled, the “shut-ins” (physically or just emotionally). These people are our “Clients.” They can be found directly or through referrals. The initial contact should be through the Merchant spearheading the “Helper” group along the Member who will be primary point of contact for with “Client.”
Each “Client” will be entered into a central database that “Helpers” will have access to. In addition to the basics, the database will include information such as contact information; medicines; favorite foods, things and activities; historical info and anything else that can be used by the “Helper” to make the lives of the “Client” better. Also included will be suspense data; date of last visit, schedule date of next visit and relevant information concerning the dates. The database will also provide an informed point of reference for anyone that might have to step in for the primary “Helper” should they not be able to visit.
We ask you to be part our efforts to build the minds and bodies of those around us. This is especially important for the ones most vulnerable, such as the elderly and shut-in. The stronger, mentally and physically, we all are individually – the stronger our communities will be collectively. Help us create a foundation for which our communities can build on in their quest for self-sustainability and well-being. No matter what role you wish to play; whether it’s directly in your community or you’re someone who wants to lend your experience and expertise to us in devising network-wide programs … we welcome you.
To get a more full understanding of the Community 3.0 Front Porch concept, please read the post, “Front Porches.” Also please follow us on Twitter at @Community3_0, and check out the main 3.0 web site.
And when you’re ready – please comment below, tell us who you are and how you think you can better the 3.0 community.
Community 3.0 Solutions:
- “Label the Town” ~ Community “places of interest” labeling
- “Pretty Pictures on the Wall” ~ Amateur art showings
- “Is it Art” ~ Vacant area art projects: art, music, theatrical
- “Showing our Stuff” ~ Street fairs
- “Recess Time” ~ Playground restoration
- “Help Me … I’m Dirty” ~ Public and private space clean-up
- “Stop and Smell the Roses” ~ Public and private space beautification
- “Fixing the Neighborhood” ~ Neighborhood renewal and repair
- “Hey … We Need Some Help Over Here” ~ “On-demand” help services
- “Apollo 13 … Please Come Home” ~ “Resource Maximization”
- “Pop-up Community” ~ Vacant building resource maximization
- “I’m Not Alone Anymore” ~ Elderly / shut-in well-being assistance
- “Get Out of the House” ~ Adult athletic and intelligence leagues
- “Love Comes From the Ground” ~ Gardens and farmers markets
- “Play Ball” ~ Youth sports and intelligence leagues
- “Getting Up to Speed” ~ Student tutoring
- “This is What I Think … ” ~ Youth writing project
- “Making the Transition” ~ Apprenticeships and post school transition
- “Leadership 2020 Anti-Congress” ~ Student assembly