"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
– Margaret Mead
What is the "Neighborhood Connections Project?"
A neighborhood lacking connections among residents is like an individual suffering from multiple personality disorder, in which each of several personalities is unaware of the existence of others or is antagonistic toward them. The more extensive and stronger the relationships within a neighborhood, the greater the capacity of residents to communicate constructively, make decisions, and act together or in complementary ways. That’s why such relationships are called “social capital”—they’re “assets” people can draw on to get things done. Relatively few neighborhoods are “rich in social capital.”
Tocqueville argued that the propensity to form and build networks of voluntary association was a key source of the success of American democracy because it fostered social connectedness. The trust, willingness to cooperate, sense of shared responsibility, and so forth that resulted from participation in voluntary associations has come to be called “social capital.” The organizations and networks themselves constitute the “civic infrastructure” upon which democratic decision-making and action depend.
The Neighborhood Connections Project is a pro-active outreach effort to build social capital in Chico neighborhoods as a precondition to improved communication, decision-making, and cooperation among residents. It offers students and faculty a chance to engage in the most fundamental, and arguably the most important, activity in a democratic society: getting to know the people who live in your own community, your own neighborhood, on your own block.
For more information, see The 'Hood Group.'
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