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Your Front Porch Identity


The conduit of participation in Melvin’s Neighborhood is the Front Porch. These informal meeting places, most often locally owned businesses, are named after gathering spots so often seen in Latino communities that are used as the focal points for neighborhood discussion and connection to the street. These Front Porches are where the Middle Ring flourishes and what the French political philosopher, Alex de Tocqueville, observed in the 1800’s as the source of America’s “exceptionalism” (which we’ve unfortunately let decay if not vanish). They allows us to organize and take action directly, not wait on the sidelines while traditional institutions may or may not.

A Front Porch can be anywhere or anything. It can be the local pub down the street or the coffee-house where you get your morning sustenance from. It can be Bill’s garage where everyone gathers to watch Sunday football games. It can even be your kitchen table. What happens on the Front Porch is what matters … not what is 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 as well as lead it into the future. They can range from organizing a cleanup effort, to fixing a playground, to even spearheading a high school mentoring or apprentice program. When a Front Porch chooses a project to spearhead — this project will serve in large part for what they stand for. This is their contribution to the community.

Below are examples of these cause or Solutions. They are only a few though. How you want to contribute is up to your imagination.

  • “I’m Not Alone Anymore” ~ Elderly and shut-in well-being assistance

  • “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

  • “Get Out of the House” ~ Adult athletic and intelligence leagues

  • “Love Comes From the Ground” ~ Gardens and farmers market

  • “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

  • “Millennials Rising” ~ Millennial Anti-Congress and activist efforts

It may not be necessary to create your own Solution. Especially with the advent of social DAOs, there a plethora of wonderful and timely volunteer projects to be part of. These efforts will also be more than happy to partner with you and your Front Porch. I’ll be keeping a roster of the ones we like in the space below as I uncover them.


The Rhizome Method

The Rhizome Method is Melvin’s Neighborhood’s guide to volunteer project execution. It’s essentially a glorified project management/people management handbook to how your business or organization can help your community — a guide to executing the art of collaboration. It’s my way of adding to the greater social DAO evolution. Pull what you can from it.

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