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1 Neighbors All: Creating Community One Block At A Time OUR EXPERIENCE Mayor’s Committee of Neighborhood Services North Riverside, Illinois

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3 Table of Contents Letter from Former Mayor Scheck... 4 5-10 Other Comments, Dedication & Prologue ... How to Use this Manual...11 The Art of Caring What Is It? ... ...12-15 Part 1-How We Live Each Point 16-22 Chapter 1-Be the First To Reach Out... ...23-27 Chapter 2-Reach Out to Everyone... Chapter 3- Be One With People— Sharing their Joys and Sorrows As If They Are Your Own...28-33 ...34-39 Chapter 4-Be Concrete in Caring... Part 2-Structure and Activities of Neighborhood Ser vices Chapter 1-How We Are Structured...40 -43 ... Chapter 2-Our Meetings... ...44-48 Chapter 3- Activities Which Assist Neighborhood Ser vices... ...49-61 ver the Years...62-65 Summary: The Results of Living the Art of Caring O CONTACT US The village website is . Sue Frampton, our village liaison can be reached at 708-442-5515. For further information or questions, please call o r email our coordinator--Carol Spale at 708-447-4932 or [email protected] NOTE: Some of the Material published in this manual was d ownloaded from public Internet sites. We have received written permissio n for most of these citations when we could locate a source. However, if you are the rig htful owner of any material and want it removed, please contact us and we will remove it im mediately on demand. This Document was Written and Printed in 2011 3

4 MAYOR’S COMMITTEE OF NEIGHBORHOOD SERVICES We are very proud of our Neighborhood Services organization. The idea for the program came from t he late North Riverside resident Gary Wilt. Starting the program was a lot easier than I thought it would be because we found another resident, Carol Spale, to be our organizer and prog ram coordinator. Carol, in spite of her own family con cerns, manages to find the time and energy to watch over both her neighbors and fellow citizens. We have a very dedicated group of people in the Neighborhood Services organization. The Village of North Riverside has been an excellent support tool for ou r organization. With the power of the Village, we can go to the hig hest level of government and accomplish things that the average p erson cannot. The combination of our caring people in Nei ghborhood Services and the inherent power of the Village of N orth Riverside is what makes this program work. We work together v ery closely and we rely upon each other to accomplish what we n eed to do. People and Government can work together for a singl e goal when it involves helping others and that is exactly what we do. Former Mayor of North Riverside, Illinois Richard N . Scheck 4

5 Comments From Other Persons North Riverside Current Mayor--Kenneth Krochmal I am proud to say that the Neighborhood Services co mmittee is part of the Village of North Riverside. It’s truly a one of a kind com mittee. Neighbors go out of their way to help each other. Sometimes this help comes anonymo usly, never with any recognition. It’s as though this committee is made up of angels who know when someone needs something, whether it’s a hot meal, a ride to the d octor, a little cheer, or an ear to listen. orth Riverside. It helps make us the This committee is a great asset to the Village of N small community with a big heart. North Riverside Village Administrator--Guy Belmonte t valuable programs we The Neighborhood Services Program is one of the mos have here in the Village of North Riverside. It is heartwarming to see neighbors helping neighbors. North Riverside Director of Recreation--Sue Frampto n We get numerous calls from residents seeking variou s types of assistance and I can always count on Neighborhood Services to reach out and help them. Thank you! y Devin North Riverside former Director of Recreation--Penn Throughout my career I have worked in numerous town s and villages, and North Riverside is by far the most caring, concerned and compassionate community because of their Neighborhood Services program. Editor/Publisher, Neighbors Magazine—Tina Valentino ices Committee which paid I attended the anniversary of the Neighborhood Serv tribute to the many neighborhood angels who have cr eated--one random act of kindness at a time for almost 20 years--a genuine s ense of extended family. They are an "army of angels," knocking on doors, sharing mea ls, lending a hand, listening and even loving their enemies in a society where good S amaritans are sometimes impossible to find. I am in awe of this group and f ind it exceedingly difficult to explain its magnanimity to others. God bless Rich Scheck and Ca rol Spale and all those who have impacted lives one garden tomato, one shovel of sno w, one caring call and one hug at a time. 5

6 This Manual Is Dedicated To: • Those block captains, in heaven and on earth, who spent their lives helping their neighbors, and our former Mayor Richa rd Scheck, whose openness allowed this program to develop in o ur town. See the list of their names on the next pages. • The three liaisons from the village who helped dev elop this program with their innovative ideas-- Blanca, Penny, and Sue. Without these three individuals, we would not have been able to g o ahead with the known how to Mayor's Committee of Neighborhood Services or have navigate the channels in the village. • Lori, John, Allan, Sue and Paula whose technical s kills helped us publish this manual. 6

7 MEMBERS OF THE MAYOR'S COMMITTEE OF NEIGHBORHOOD SE RVICES THOSE IN CAPITALS ARE CURRENT MEMBERS When members retire or move, they usually ask someo ne on the block, whom they know well, to take their place. Kathy Flowers NICK ALBACHARA BOB GERSTNER JOHN BORK Vince Gonzalez Brian Basek Gina and Tom Bojovic Pearl Grosse JUDY HANNON Sam Buonomo Phil Brokenshire Margaret Harris Melinda and Ken Brom CINDY HICKEY Irene Jecmen Patrick Carolan Mary Cashin Marie Kelly Gene and Joanne Koszala Sally Cesal WENDY KRAL Fran Cvetezar KEN KROCHMAL MATT DECOSOLA Sandy Lid MARK & JOANNE EGGER George and Phyllis Fan Liu Barbara Mc Keag Endriukaitis Kathy Nelson KATHRYN FONTANA Harriet Niemann Mary Fedorski Jack Fenton Debra Nieminski Jim Orth Maureen Ferriter Bonnie Pekarek Doreen Fliger Theresa Polic Ken Pietro Casey Kuczek FRANK VESELAK PATTI JO MEYER Kay Subaitis Jeanette Kubisztal Julie Kysela Ann Santos Theresa Polic Liz Polhemus Dan Pinkos Beth Ritacca Harriet Nieman Karen Kutt MARY ANN RIVERA Greg and Terry Schaefer Margaret Rowley ROSE SANTORO Debra D'Attomo JOAN SARGENT Valerie Pettrone Karen DalPorto Rich Skulina Trent Stahnke Fred Orehek Roy Svoboda Julie Kysela Irene Jecmen Nanci Tanney Margaret Harris Angela Travaglio Ann Nazimek Rose Urani Jeanne Fornari Gary Wittbrodt Mary Beth Varak Diane Vitrungs 7


9 In Memory of Members of Neighborhood Services Who are Deceased Eleanore Gajkowski Bob Kutt Bill Cech Ed Herlihy Pat Collins Casey Kuczek Emilie Ucherek Marge Sedlacek Alice Kopacek Alberta Filip Ernie Czetezar Ray Hickey Gary Wilt Rudy Dorner Winnie Kruzic Art Horne Trudy Lee Pat Steichmann Joe Mitchell Larry Kehl Lou Gambino Lorrayne Vlastnik Millie Fako Rich Olson Marge Sedlacek Peter Onni Dorothy Svoboda Honorary Captains Betty Scheck Helen Kedmenec Viola Jansky 9

10 PROLOGUE This manual is a response to the many people who ha ve asked our former Mayor and myself how to begin a program similar to the Mayor's Committee of Neighborhood Services in their towns, schools, churches or businesses. The book provides a step-by-step approach based on a simple, four-point program proposed by Chiara Lubich, the late foundre ss of the Focolare Movement, who offered it as a gift to people all ov er the world. This initiative, which we call "the art of caring," is not a tool for discussion or analysis. It is a guideline for action, to be put into practice by two or more people who are dedicated to making a positive contr ibution in whatever place they find themselves. This manual may be different from those manuals you are accustomed to reading. The structure and mechanics of our progra m is presented only after the points of the art of caring. After each point, there are experiences from life which illustrate that particular point. In 1992, when this program formally began in North Riverside, there was no set-in-stone agenda. I would say it was born fr om a trust between our former mayor and myself and grew day-to-day through acts of kindness by the block captains. I found in the mayor, a politi cian who listened, and who believed that politicians should use their power to serve the people y to say 'thank you' to For me, it was an answer to my prayers to have a wa North Riverside neighbors who had supported our fam ily for years in caring for our son David, who has severe disabilities. Our hope is that after applying the points of the a rt of caring, you too will see with your own eyes a network of caring spread o ver your town, your business, your church, or your school. Carol Spale, Coordinator of Neighborhood Services 10

11 HOW TO USE THIS MANUAL The four points of the Art of Caring are used as t he basis for our program. They can be applied by any individual who hopes to create a sense of family on his or her block. Each town or group has their unique needs. This ma nual contains the experiences of the 100 block captains of North Riverside and how t hey lived the art of caring each day , through living the art of caring, their for nineteen years. The real life stories show how relationships with their neighbors changed and a se nse of peace spread throughout town. ach point and internet stories which We share stories of how block captains have lived e se stories can be used in various are also grouped according to the four points. The l and those who listen will then be ways. Either they can be just read by an individua inspired to try the ideas presented on their blocks . They can also be used as an ghbors in a new way through the encouragement for a group to begin to see their nei perspective of the art of caring. The angel stories in the newsletter, small acts of kindness, also present a way to spread the idea of living the golden rule throughout a tow n or an organization. Block party and Christmas tree stories are shared with the members of the Committee who may hesitate to be the first to reach out to their neighbors. can be used in your unique You can pick and choose which parts of this manual tance in sharing ideas which might situation. Please contact us if we can be of assis help you to implement this program. WARNING---NEVER GIVE UP rganization. However, the The Art of Caring truly can transform any town or o transformation does not happen overnight Instead, the experience has to be lived and the ever new stories that come from life have to be heard again and again as a group. Sharing positive stories together at every meeting gives the captains the courage to care because they know they are not alone. Then al l can go ahead with hope and perseverance. They try to care concretely about ea ch neighbor each day. With time, those hearing the stories begin to devel op new relationships with their neighbors and they begin to learn to always look ar ound them, being the first to reach out and to reach out to every person. They learn t o reach out even though they have their own problems. The coordinator and the area r eps try to show the block captains how to live the art of caring through how they inte ract with them. Then the captains can more easily live this with the neighbors on their b locks since the have experienced themselves what they are to give others. Over time the spirit of family develops... 11

12 THE ART OF CARING  Point 1: Be The First To Reach Out Point 2: Reach Out To Everyone  Be One With People, Point 3:  Sharing Their Joys And Sorrows As If They Are Your Own  Point 4: Be Concrete In Caring aring and the spirit of family. These four points, when lived, lead to reciprocal c The Art of Caring is adapted from Art of Loving, fi rst presented by Chiara Lubich, the late foundress of the Focolare Movement. For m ore information visit: or How The Art of Caring Changes One’s Perspective Our former mayor has said it has helped him not jus t to think of our town only but the other towns around us. We have been interacting wi th those from other political parties and we welcome them publicly and try to go beyond the interests of just the political party. After all, we all share the same goal which is to make our towns very livable places. We have made contact with others o utside of our town to share resources and have started to build working relatio nships with them. As an example, we have held a joint senior fair now for a number of years, working together with the neighboring towns to share ideas and resources. This has also helped our residents very much. We now have a soci al worker from the council on aging come out to our town monthly so seniors would not have to travel far to get help. There are numerous examples of collaborations betwe en the towns in our area. The rders of our town and into the Art of Caring has led us to move beyond just the bo larger community. 12

13 THE ART OF CARING How We Implement the 4 Points Be the First to Reach Out We give welcome bags to new residents, sometimes wi th homemade cookies. The block captains give little live decorated trees at Christmas to one person on block each year. Through this network, we have truly tried to reach every single person in our village. Reach out to Everyone The captains knock at everyone's door on their bloc k, even those who are not easy to meet or know, with resource handouts. The handouts are only distributed once or twice a year. They hold block garage sales or block part ies where it is possible. There was a block party get together and a couple o n the block was invited for three years and had never come. Finally, the third year t hey came out. All the neighbors gave them a hand of applause. Even the mailman was invit ed and came to that party. No one is left out. Be One With Your Neighbor---Sharing Their Joys and Sorrows As If They Are Your Own If a resident or a block captains is ill or is worr ied, we send cards, bring food, or just listen. When we receive calls from those with fina ncial needs or with other problems, ive them full attention. Once, after we try to listen as if they are our relatives; we g rned about a resident he had met hours, our former mayor called because he was conce who was depressed. He asked us to call and offer r esources because he could not get her out of his thoughts. He was concerned for her. We feel for one another, especially those who are s uffering. We also make use of emails to share concerns or to communicate to the c aptains if someone is in trouble. Be Concrete in Caring We have informational handouts for all residents on health, safety, and financial resources. We have speakers at our Neighborhood Se rvices meeting to inform captains of services they can share with their neighbors. V ery often, those who have experienced this type of caring then turn around an d show it to others. One time, going door to door with the handouts, a c aptain discovered an older couple without a working stove. The captain told us and w e were able to find the resources to buy her a stove. All of us can make a difference w ith little acts of kindness in our homes, neighborhoods, churches, & towns. That is w hy we used the following poem ervices because each person when we first began our Committee of Neighborhood S wants to make a difference... 13

14 EXCELLENT MOTIVATIONAL WEBSITES In many of our meetings, we not only share stories of what is happening in our village but we also share inspirational stories and quotes from around the world. Some of them are found at the following websites: Beautiful Eulogy Poem called the Dash Helps individual and groups set right priorities in life Copyright laws prevent us printing it here but can be used orally without any agreement Has a newsletter, quotes, free motivational slide s hows Has a list of many inspiring stories that are circu lated on Internet Contains many quotes by categories and by most popu lar famous people, proverbs from around the world 14

15 Here is the flyer we used to advertise our committe e: 15

16 PART 1--HOW WE LIVE EACH POINT CHAPTER 1---BE THE FIRST TO REACH OUT— EXPERIENCES FROM OUR VILLAGE Story #1-- door neighbor. So every morning, A woman was determined to be friendly with her next when she walked her dog, she would greet him and wi sh him a good morning. She did this morning after morning with no response from he r neighbor. In fact, one morning, as she was walking her dog in the alley, he almost ran over her because he pulled out his car so fast... But she continued to try. Morning after morning, s he greeted him. One morning, as she greeted him, he said, “Good morning to you too”. Sh e was amazed. Now they are the best of neighbors. Story #2-- A woman had a friend coming from another state for a short visit. The friend was an older lady who was the primary caregiver for her hu sband who was very ill. The visit was a short respite. The resident decided to do so mething special so the trip would remain in her friend's memory. So, she bought tick ets for a play downtown. But she did not tell her friend that she also called for a limo usine to take them there in style. She knew her friend had never been inside one. nd saw the limo blocking their car. The day came and the friend looked out the window a She was concerned. Then her friend told her about the surprise. They had a great would always be a wonderful memory time! She told her friend that the limousine ride for her. -- Story #3 One time, a captain chose to give the little live C hristmas tree to a man who was very ill. He was touched by the little tree since he had no d ecorations in his room and remained in bed always. The next day, we received a phone ca ll from the niece. She said," Thank you so much for what you have done. After the capt ain left, my uncle asked if we could drive him around town to see all the decorations. W e had been asking him to do this, but he refused to try and now he wanted to go out." She said she had tears in her eyes. A few months later, we learned he passed away but w e felt great joy that we had made his last Christmas on earth a little happier. -- Story #4 Once while campaigning, a town official found a blo ck where the mailman never gets to eat lunch because all the people on the block alter nate feeding him sandwiches! 16

17 Story #5-- comed her new neighbor with, not One of our captains who was in her nineties had wel only a welcome bag, but with a homemade cake. She was always there for her nvited him for a meeting on visitor night neighbor and his three little girls. The captain i and told him that he was so chivalrous to open the car door for her. The man tried to show his care to this captain in h er last weeks of life by visiting each day with his daughters. He even hoped to have a ben ch erected in her memory near the park at the end of the block so neighbors would rem ember her. He was deeply touched by her life. Story #6-- A thirty-five year resident was moving away. Two n eighbors decided to host a going- s for a gift and for flowers. The away luncheon. They collected donations from other woman who was moving was so touched by their kindne ss. Surprisingly, the neighbors were just as touched by meeting each other that they planned an annual pot luck luncheon to stay in cont act with their “new “ friends. Story #7 -- A mom had just returned from the hospital after kne e surgery. While trying to A neighbor ran over to prepare dinner, an accidental kitchen fire started. ery badly damaged. help. Firemen quickly arrived but the kichen was v But neighbors began pitching in –they drove her chi ldren to school and even cooked her meals. The mom was very grateful. Story #8-- There was a power outage on one side of a block for over 30 hours. A neighbor ran borrowed extension cords to her neighbors on the ot her side of the street so that could get power to turn her oxygen on. The Public Works employees stopped by to place two protective barriers to protect the cord that was ru nning across the street. Other neighbors stored food in their refrigerators. And another neighbor started a generator for a family with frail individuals. 17

18 CHAPTER 1-BE THE FIRST TO REACH OUT— ANGEL STORIES These are reprints from our quarterly village newsl etter. These short descriptions are used to help residents have ideas on how to simply create a network of caring around them. • celebrate their special birthday Angel who filled a teenager's car with balloons to • Angel who gave the garbage man aspirin when she fo und out his back was hurting. • Angel who was in fragile health but offered to wra p cookies left over from our village party so they could be given to those who w ere homebound for Christmas. Teen Angel who hauled out the garbage for his neig hbor • • Angel who went door to door , holding a chihuahua, looking for its owner • Little Angel of six or seven who served cookies at our Senior Fair with a big smile. • Senior Angel, over 80 years of age, who drove in r ush hour to get a prescription for a woman who had dropped her medication so the woman would not worry. • Angel neighbors who tied a balloon to the porch ra il to welcome home a neighbor home from the hospital. • Homebound Angel who accepted calls five times a da y from her neighbor with worries. • each Mass and then would There was a woman who straightened the books after take the opportunity to greet the people who came i n early for next Mass. She also brought home grown tomatoes for those who sat next to her each Sunday. • her answering machine, There was a resident who had a special message on thanking people for calling and wishing that they h ad a good day. Some said the message touched their heart. CHAPTER 1: BE THE FIRST TO REACH OUT-- OTHER STORIES WHICH ILLUSTRATE THIS POINT When I Was a Freshman in High School One day when I was a freshman in high school, I saw a kid from my class was walking home from school. His name was Kyle. It looked lik e he was carrying all of his books. I thought to myself, "Why would anyone bring home a ll his books on a Friday. He must really be a nerd." I had quite a weekend planned ( parties and a football game with my friends tomorrow afternoon), so I shrugged my shoul ders and went on. As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running tow ard him. They ran at him, knocking all his books out of his arms and tripping him so h e landed in the dirt. His glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the grass about ten feet from him. He looked up and I 18

19 saw this terrible sadness in his eyes. My heart we nt out to him. So, I jogged over to him nd I saw a tear in his eye. As I and as he crawled around looking for his glasses, a ks. They really should get lives.” He handed him his glasses, I said, "Those guys are jer looked at me and said, "Hey thanks!" There was a b ig smile on his face. It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude. I helped him pick up his books, and asked him so I asked him why I had never seen where he lived. As it turned out, he lived near me, before now. I would have never him before. He said he had gone to private school hung out with a private school kid before. We talke d all the way home, and I carried some of his books. He turned out to be a pretty co ol kid. I asked him if he wanted to play a little football with my friends. He said yes . We hung out all weekend and the more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him, and my friends thought the same of him. ge stack of books again. I Monday morning came, and there was Kyle with the hu stopped him and said, "Boy, you are gonna really bu ild some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday!" He just laughed and handed me half the books. Over the next four years, Kyle and I became best friends. When w e were seniors, we began to think about college. Kyle decided on Georgetown, and I w as going to Duke. I knew that we would always be friends, that the miles would never be a problem. He was going to be a doctor, and I was going for business on a footbal l scholarship. Kyle was valedictorian of our class. I teased him all the time about being a nerd. He had to prepare a speech for graduation. I was so g lad it wasn't me having to get up there and speak. Graduation day, I saw Kyle. He lo oked great. He was one of those actually looked good in glasses. He guys that really found himself. He filled out and im. Boy, sometimes I was jealous. had more dates than I had and all the girls loved h Today was one of those days. I could see that he w as nervous about his speech. So, I smacked him on the back and said, "Hey, big guy, yo u'll be great!" He looked at me with one of those looks (the really grateful one) and sm iled."Thanks," he said. As he started his speech, he cleared his throat, and began. "Gra duation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through those tough years. Your parents, your teachers, your siblings, maybe a coach...but mostly your friends. I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give t hem. I am going to tell you a story." d the story of the first day we met. He I just looked at my friend with disbelief as he tol had planned to kill himself over the weekend .He ta lked of how he had cleaned out his locker so his Mom wouldn't have to do it later and was carrying his stuff home. He looked hard at me and gave me a little smile. "Than kfully, I was saved. My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable." I heard a gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy told us about his weakest mom ent. I saw his Mom and dad looking at me and smiling that same grateful smile. Not until that moment did I realize it's depth. Never underestimate the power of your actions. With one small gesture you can change a person's life. Take from: 19

20 The Daffodil Principle by Jaroldeen Edwards, from book Celebration Several times my daughter had telephoned to say, "M other, you must come to see the daffodils before they are over." I wanted to go, bu t it was a two-hour drive from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead "I will come next Tuesday", I pro mised a little reluctantly on her third call. Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. Still, I had pr omised, and reluctantly I drove there. lcomed by the joyful sounds of When I finally walked into Carolyn's house I was we happy children. I delightedly hugged and greeted my grandchildren. "Forget the clouds and fog, and there is nothing in daffodils, Carolyn! The road is invisible in these o see badly enough to drive another the world except you and the children that I want t inch!" My daughter smiled calmly and said, "We drive in th is all the time, Mother." "Well, you won't get me back on the road until it c lears, and then I'm heading for home!" I assured her. "But first we're going to see the daffodils. It's j ust a few blocks," Carolyn said. "I'll drive. I'm used to this." "Carolyn," I said sternly, "Please turn around." "It's all right, Mother, I promise. You will never forgive yourself if you miss this experience." After about twenty minutes, we turned onto a small gravel road and I saw a small church. On the far side of the church, I saw a hand lettered sign with an arrow that read, "Daffodil Garden ." We got out of the car, each took a child's hand, a nd I followed Carolyn down the path. Then, as we turned a corner, I looked up and gasped . Before me lay the most glorious sight. It looked as though someone had taken a great vat o f gold and poured it over the mountain and its surrounding slopes. The flowers we re planted in majestic, swirling patterns, great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, creamy white, lemon yellow, salmon pink, and saffron and butter yellow. Each different colored variety was planted in large groups so that it swirled and flowed like its own r iver with its own unique hue. There were five acres of flowers. 20

21 Carolyn answered. "She lives on "Who did this?" I asked Carolyn. "Just one woman," a well-kept A-frame house, small and the property. That's her home." Carolyn pointed to modestly sitting in the midst of all that glory. We walked up to the house. On the patio, we saw a poster. "Answers to the Ques tions I Know You Are Asking". The first answer was a simple one. "50,000 bulbs," it read. The second answer was, "One at a time, by one woman . Two hands, two feet, and one brain." The third answer was, "Began in 1958." For me, that moment was a life-changing experience. I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who, more than forty years before, h ad begun, one bulb at a time, to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mo untaintop. Planting one bulb at a time, year after year, this unknown woman had forev er changed the world in which she lived. One day at a time, she had created something of extraordinary magnificence, beauty, and inspiration. The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principles of celebration. That is, learning to move toward our goals and desi res one step at a time - often just one baby-step at time - and learning to love the do ing, learning to use the accumulation of time. When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things. We can change the world . 21

22 The Carpenter & Two Brothers Once upon a time two brothers, who lived on adjoini ng farms, fell into conflict. It was the ide, sharing machinery, and trading labor first serious rift in 40 years of farming side by s ng collaboration fell apart. It began and goods as needed without a conflict. Then the lo with a small misunderstanding and it grew into a ma jor difference, and finally it exploded into an exchange of bitter words followed by weeks of silence. One morning there was a knock on one farmer’s door. He opened it to find a man with a carpenter's tool box. "I'm looking for a few days' work" he said. "Perhaps you would have a few small jobs here and there I could help w ith? Could I help you?" "Yes," said the older brother. "I do have a job for you." "Look across the creek at that farm. That's my neighbor; in fact, it's my younger brother. La st week there was a meadow between us and he took his bulldozer to the river levee and now there is a creek between us. Well, he may have done this to spite me, but I'll d o him one better." "See that pile of lumber by the barn? I want you to build me a fence --an 8-foot fence -- so I won't need to see his place or his face anymore." The carpente r said, "I think I understand the situation. Show me the nails and the post-hole digg er and I'll be able to do a job that pleases you." he carpenter get the materials ready The older brother had to go to town, so he helped t and then he was off for the day. The carpenter work ed hard all that day measuring, sawing, nailing. About sunset when the farmer retur ned, the carpenter had just finished his job. The farmer's eyes opened wide, his jaw dropped. The re was no fence there at all. It was a bridge -- a bridge stretching from one side of th e creek to the other! A fine piece of work, handrails and all -- and the neighbor, his yo unger brother, was coming toward them, his hand outstretched. "You are quite a fello w to build this bridge after all I've said and done." The two brothers stood at each end of th e bridge, and then they met in the middle, taking each other's hand. They turned to se e the carpenter hoist his toolbox onto his shoulder. "No, wait! Stay a few days. I've a lot of other projects for you," said the older brother. "I'd love to stay on," the carpe nter said, but I have many more bridges to build. Do you have any bridges that you need to build? Author Unknown— taken 22

23 CHAPTER 2: REACH OUT TO EVERYBODY EXPERIENCES FROM OUR VILLAGE Story #1-- We assisted a woman abused by a caregiver to find a nother one with the help of our liaison and our representative at the public works director, our handyman, our recreation t her situation is much improved! local Council on Aging. There are still problems bu Story #2-- A woman from Poland needed the correct papers to st ay in our country. The block captain let us know and we called and the village. The mayor contacted the local congressman and discussed what steps she needed to take to get legal documentation. She was able to do so. Then for the first in nine years, she could go to Poland to visit her family and not worry that she could not come ba ck. Story #3-- A middle aged man with disabilities had his electri cal power turned off because he could not pay bills. He found resources to help but was still short some. We found out and were able to get emergency money from a local assis tance organization. When we gave him a check, he said that he would take it but plea se to tell him if there was any resident that needed weeds pulled or the lawn mowed so he co uld have a way to give back. Story #4-- all her neighbors’ doorknobs on the A block captain told us how she hung little bags on dy and a little bunny. She received block. They were filled with a notepad, a poem, can a phone call after doing this from a woman who neve r talked to them and was not or this surprise. it brought back friendly. She said thank you to the block captain f memories when she was little and had May Day bags. The block captain was very happy. Story #5-- We received a call from a resident who offered many lotions and creams to our local nursing home. A few days later, the phone rang and a senior called to ask a block captain to help her with her grocery stopping since she and her sister were not well. We thought we could make them feel better by giving some lotions with the groceries. So we asked their favorites and told them we would bring the lotions to them. They were excited and promised to call back later with the gr ocery list. But there was no call. When we called later, we found that the sister we t alked to had fallen and was in the hospital and her other sister was so worried. The c aptain went and helped her with groceries, etc. and gave the one sister her lotion and left one for her sister when she would come home. This really seemed to make the on e sister happy, and the one in the tion too. hospital could not wait to come home to have her lo 23

24 Story #6-- A woman called needing a caregiver, saying she had not been well for two weeks and was feeling faint. We called agencies but they coul d not provide the service for the amount of money she felt she could pay. We felt so bad we could not find a caregiver. We told her we were sorry we could not help. She s aid she had some friends that maybe could help. After hanging up, we thought tha t maybe some homemade chicken soup would help to get her strength back. We also decided to give her some lavender lotion which was calming. We called her back, offe ring to bring the soup and the lotion. We could not believe her response. She said, “In h eaven's name, why would do this for me, a stranger.” We told her that it was we do in town; we try to tr eat each other like we would treat our family. She was so touched. Then she shared that he r husband and daughter had both died in the last two years. Also she herself had be en in a bad car accident and had been afraid to drive. Now we understood why she had been a little curt and a little strong. She also asked if we could come to visit again. Story #7-- One woman in her apartment building decided to get to know her neighbors by inviting them to her apartment. This way she could have neig hbors from all cultures and backgrounds. They met as neighbors and became frien ds. CHAPTER 2: REACH OUT TO EVERYBODY— OTHER STORIES WHICH ILLUSTRATE THIS POINT Johnny the Bagger from ) you, scroll down to one Click on For Business, then click on Customer thank then under book, click on for before the last, click below picture of brown bag, movie... Movie is excellent and very moving. It is a true story. First, tell the story or show the slide show of Joh nny the Bagger .The video is great but the speaker can also just tell the story, then foll ow up. Afterwards can you be a Johnny today? Experiences From Our Town After We Shared this Vide o: • One brought a coffee pot with coffee to a disabled resident to have breakfast together. • One made stuffed cabbages and brought to post offi ce employees. • One block captain had neighbors who did not really want block party, so she met with a couple of them at a local restaurant just to be together. 24

25 • year and this year went to other One block captain just had a big block party last and invited that whole block, block captains on block north of him with handouts which did not have a party this year, to come to hi s party. wonderful Mediterranean One woman, who is Arabic and from Jerusalem, cooks • food. She decided to invite her apartment neighbors over to her little studio apartment. She had set it up with one big table in the middle of floor almost like a little restaurant and then she served the most deli cious dinner with appetizers neighbors stayed over two and dessert from her cultural background. The five hours and they had a wonderful time. She wants to d o it again. The Berlin Wall When Willie Brandt was mayor of West Berlin, some o f the people of East Berlin threw garbage over the Wall separating the two parts of t he city. The people of West Berlin were very angry and wanted to dump their garbage an d more back over the Wall The Mayor said instead to dump flowers back over th e wall into East Berlin. The people did as he said and so instead of returning garbage with garbage, he gave back flowers. What do we give back when our neighbors or friends hurt us? The Obstacles in Our Path In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and . watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock Some of the king’s wealthiest merchants and courtie rs came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the king for not keep ing the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way. Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegeta bles. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the king indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. ----The peasant learned what many of us never under stand. Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition. Author Unknown Taken from 25

26 Care About Your Brother Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a h ospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare & seri ous disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from he r 5-year old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had deve loped the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situat ion to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, "Yes, I'll do it if it will save her.' As the trans fusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his returning to her cheek. Then his face sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color doctor and asked with a trembling grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the ng, the little boy had misunderstood the voice, 'Will I start to die right away?' Being you sister all of his blood in order to doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his save her. Understanding and Attitude, after all, ar e everything. The Test During my second month of college, our professor ga ve us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the q uestions until I read the last one: 'What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?' Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several time s. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50's, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one studen t asked if the last question would professor. 'In your careers, you will count toward our quiz grade. “Absolutely,” said the ur attention and care, even if all you meet many people. All are significant. They need yo do is smile and say hello. I've never forgotten th at lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy. Always Remember Those Who Serve In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less , a 10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him. 'How much is an ice cream sundae?' he asked. “Fifty cents, replied the waitress. The little boy pulled is hand out of his pocket and stu died the coins in it. 'Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?' he inquired. By now mo re people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient. 'Thirty-fiv e cents,' she brusquely replied. The little boy again counted his coins. 'I'll have the plain ice cream,' he said. The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier an d left. When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table. There , placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies. You see, he couldn't have the sundae, because he had to have enough left to leave her a t ip. Treat each person with respect in each moment you are given. All three stories taken from 26

27 How Much Do You Make An Hour? itated, to find his 5-year-old son A man came home from work late again, tired and irr u a question?" "Yeah, sure, what is waiting for him at the door. "Daddy, may I ask yo it?" replied the man. "Daddy, how much money do y ou make an hour? "That's none of your business! What makes you ask such a thing?" th e man said angrily. "I just want to " pleaded the little boy. "If you know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour? must know, I make $20.00 an hour." "Oh," the litt le boy replied, head bowed. Looking up, he said, "Daddy, may I borrow $10.00 please?" The father was furious. "If the only reason you wan ted to know how much money I make is just so you can borrow some to buy a silly toy o r some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. Think about why you're being so have time for such childish games." selfish. I work long, hard hours everyday and don't e door. The man sat down and started The little boy quietly went to his room and shut th to get even madder about the little boy's questioni ng. How dare he ask such questions only to get some money. After an hour or so, the man had calmed down, and s tarted to think he may have been a e really needed to buy with that little hard on his son. Maybe there was something h $10.00, and he really didn't ask for money very oft en. The man went to the door of the eep son?" he asked. "No daddy, I'm little boy's room and opened the door. "Are you asl awake," replied the boy. "I've been thinking, may be I was too hard on you earlier," said the man. "It's been a long day and I took my aggrav ation out on you. Here's that $10.00 you asked for." The little boy sat straight up, b eaming. "Oh, thank you daddy!" he yelled. Then, reaching under his pillow, he pulled out some more crumpled up bills. The man, seeing that the boy already had money, sta rted to get angry again. The little boy slowly counted out his money, then looked up at the man. "Why did you want more money if you already had some?" the father grumbled . "Because I didn't have enough, but now I do," the little boy replied. "Daddy, I ha ve $20.00 now. Can I buy an hour of your time?" The dad was stunned and hugged his son... Share some time with those ever know. who need you. They need our time more then we will Author Unknown Taken 27

28 CHAPTER 3: BE ONE WITH PEOPLE SHARING THEIR JOYS AND SORROWS AS IF THEY ARE YOUR OWN— EXPERIENCES FROM OUR VILLAGE Story #1-- a food basket. We happened to A single mom with a teenage son called looking for lected from all the people in town. have extra food because the Boy Scouts had just col Then another woman called and told us she had lefto ver toys from a toy drive. They were brought too late for the pickup. So we found a couple of toys were just right for the teenage son. Then we sent the mom to the local town ship and they gave her gift certificates for local food stores. She was very ha ppy. All the groups had worked together. She felt as if people really cared for he r. Story #2-- A family in town had many relatives coming for Chri stmas Eve dinner. Their stove had broken down so they could only have ham and potato salad. Then the phone rang the day before and some neighbors said they were going to help with the dinner, each one bringing a dish before the company arrived. One br ought cookies; another brought a jello mold; another brought a casserole; and finall y one brought cookies and fruit. The family was so touched by the kindness of their neig hbors who had helped when they saw the family’s need. Story-#3-- hat an important a job they do and Our former mayor told the captains at one meeting w hbor to the village hall that morning. told a story about a captain who had brought a neig The woman was crying because her husband was in the hospital. She needed comforting. The mayor and clerk at the village list ened to her and tried to help her situation. The mayor was deeply touched when discu ssing how the captain had brought her to the village hall for assistance. Story-#4-- We were all listening to one person who was speakin g at a meeting. Some of the members of the group were thinking that maybe he be interrupted since time was limited. Our former mayor then reminded us that he schedules his morning to be there for whoever wants and he will stay after the meetin g, if need be. This really impressed those at the meeting. Even though we like to help a lot, it is hard to listen to each one . all the way to the end without being impatient . -- Story-#5 This story was overheard at our Recreation Departme nt. It concerned an elderly couple who were registered for a theater trip. An employee called to confirm that the couple was going. The wife said her husband was in the ho spital and she said she could not elt the concern for the woman. go without him. The employee did not give up; she f 28

29 She called back in a few days. The wife said he was back in the hospital again. The back once more and said she would employee said not to worry and she offered to call still hold the place. The Recreation Department employee called again bec ause she knew they needed to participate in something fun after all the sickness . To the surprise of the couple, the doctor actually said that even though the husband w as weak, he could go. The staff member of the Recreation Department was so happy an d even had someone stay with and help them all night, walking, getting to the bu s. The department provided a good example to all, listening to what the residents nee d. And the couple was very happy to relax. Story-#6-- One resident who was not well was moving from town after many years of being involved in the government. At the meeting where h e was presented with a plaque, one by one the trustees left their seats and came down the aisle toward him to thank him for his service to town. They hugged him, thanked him, wished him well. This priority of service for all filters down to the block captains as we emulate our officials and try to create a sense of family. Story #7-- Helen, who was from our Recreation department, told us that in one week she accompanied three neighbors to the hospital in ambu lance so they would not be alone. nd found resources to Gary who had lung cancer still answered the phone a was. Both Helen and Gary are models help people. He did not tell the people how ill he of caring for their neighbors without thinking of t hemselves. -- Story #8 A physically disabled resident was driving home fro m Chicago. Her car stalled on Roosevelt and Oak Park Avenue on an 80 degree day. She had no cell phone and could not walk the distance to make a call. Customers fro m the various local businesses walked by as she asked for help, asking for a phone to use. They kept rushing, going ahead. She did not know what to do. Then, two emplo yees from the local Dunkin Donuts were ending their shift and going home. They actually STOPPED and looked, and realized what the situation was. One pushed her car near the curb so she would be safer. The other let her use the cell phone so she could call for help. They went back to get her a drink, for free, and even a donut. The ma nager said how he wished he had his car so he could jump start her car. They offered to stay until her friends came. Yes, she finally got back to town. But, without the employee s, how much longer than the two hey took the time to be one with hours would she have remained there. Fortunately, t their neighbor, even though a stranger. 29

30 Story #9 -- A mom, who happens to be a block captain, was rushi ng to her car to pick up her children from school. She saw her older neighbor w ho lived alone walking toward her. She did not want to talk at that moment and started to pretend she did not see her. But something told her to wait and greet her. As the ne ighbor got closer, she saw the woman had a cast on her arm. She told her she had b een released from ER a couple of day earlier and had lost the doctor's number in her bag of papers. The cast was hurting would help her as soon as she got her. The captain could not believe it and said she back. She was so glad she had waited, and yes, she was able to help her. So to be one, she did not run away from neighbor who comes at wha t seems is the wrong time... Story #10 -- embers only one card after all those A resident died fourteen years ago. The family rem I will really miss your mother. years. It was from the woman’s mailman. He wrote, " Whenever I delivered her mail, she would open the d oor with a big smile.” It made his day. It is such a little thing--to smile at someone who happens to be in front of you in the moment. CHAPTER 3: BE ONE WITH PEOPLE SHARING THEIR JOYS AND SORROWS AS IF THEY ARE YOUR OWN— ANGEL STORIES These are reprints from our quarterly village newsl etter. These short descriptions are used to help residents have ideas on how to simply create a network of caring around them. • Local Hero/Heroine Awards: o To the lady who called back a resident who mistake nly left an important message on the wrong answering machine to let her k now what saved the day! o ners (for free) for a To the caring man who made a metal track and faste family with a disabled child so the child could hav e a folding door in his're one in a million! o To the loving lady in the apartment-A on the east end of town who makes sure that none of the residents park their cars in her neighbor's handicapped parking deserve a hug! To the thoughtful couple who gave away their almos t-new wheeled o suitcase to a college student whose luggage was not in great made a young woman smile! o To the kind, practical lady who offered to install a new zipper on a jacket for a mom who is all thumbs... you are wonderful! o To Michael, the Plumbing Angel, who came out immed iately (even though he had many other appointments to keep) to install new bathroom facilities for a resident who had just returned home from the hospital and was in great need. The resident was more than grateful! No matter how busy, people in need come first for this angel. 30

31 CHAPTER 3—BE ONE WITH PEOPLE , SHARING JOYS AND SUFFERINGS AS IF THEY ARE YOUR OWN---- WHICH ILLUSTRATE THIS POINT OTHER STORIES The Cab Ride I arrived at 2:30 a.m., the Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living. When building was dark except for a single light in a gr ound floor window. Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or twice, wait a minute, then drive away. But, I had seen too many impoverished people who depended on taxis as their only means of transportation. Unless a situat ion smelled of danger, I always went to the door. This passenger might be someone who ne eds my assistance, I reasoned to myself. So I walked to the door and knocked. "Just a minute", answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor. After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 80's stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, l ike somebody out of a 1940s movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartme nt looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheet s. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware. "Would you carry my bag out to the car?" she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the wo man. She took my arm and we for my kindness. "It's nothing", I walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me y I would want my mother treated". told her. "I just try to treat my passengers the wa "Oh, you're such a good boy", she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, th en asked, "Could you drive through downtown?" "It's not the shortest way," I answered quickly. "Oh, I don't mind," she said. "I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hosp ice". I looked in the rearview mirror. Her eyes were glistening. "I don't have any family left," she continued. "The doctor says I don't have very long." I quietly reached over an d shut off the meter. "What route would you like me to take?" I asked. For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We dro ve through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once bee n a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, say ing nothing. As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, "I'm tired. Let's go now." We drove in silence to the address she had given me . It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed unde r a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were s olicitous and intent, watching her 31

32 every move. They must have been expecting her. I o pened the trunk and took the small in a wheelchair. suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated er purse. "Nothing," I said. "You "How much do I owe you?" she asked, reaching into h have to make a living," she answered. "There are o ther passengers," I responded. Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly. "You gave an old woman a little moment of joy," she said. "Th ank you." I squeezed her hand, then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a doo r shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life. I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly, lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if tha t woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away? On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life. We're condition ed to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware--beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one. PEOPLE MAY NOT REMEMBER EXACTLY WHAT `YOU DID, OR W HAT YOU SAID, ~BUT~ THEY WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER HOW YOU MADE THEM F EEL. Taken from Father of Wealthy Family Took His Son on a Trip... is son on a trip to the country with the One day, the father of a very wealthy family took h express purpose of showing him how poor people live . They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family. On their return from their trip the father asked his son, 'How was the trip?' It was great, Dad.' 'Did you eah, ' said the son. 'So, tell me, what see how poor people live?' the father asked. 'Oh y e son answered: did you learn from the trip?' asked the father. Th 'I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our ga rden and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden and they ha ve the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have t he whole horizon. We have a small piece of land to live on and they h ave fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us, but they serve other s. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us; th ey have friends to protect them.' The boy's father was speechless. Then his son added, 'Thanks Dad for showing me how poor we are.' Isn't perspective a wonderful thing? Makes you wond er what would happen if we all gave thanks for everything we have, instead of worr ying about what we don't have Taken From: 32

33 The Hospital Window Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hosp ital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to hel p drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room's only window. The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. The men talked for hours on end. They s poke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the m ilitary service, where they had been on vacation. ow could sit up, he would pass the Every afternoon when the man in the bed by the wind time by describing to his roommate all the things h e could see outside the window. The ur periods where his world would be man in the other bed began to live for those one-ho or of the world outside. broadened and enlivened by all the activity and col ucks and swans played on the The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. D ng lovers walked arm in arm amidst water while children sailed their model boats. You flowers of every color and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance. As the man by the window described all this in exqu isite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine t he picturesque scene. One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although it. In his mind's eye as the the other man couldn't hear the band - he could see ve words. gentleman by the window portrayed it with descripti arrived to bring water for their Days and weeks passed. One morning, the day nurse the window, who had died peacefully in baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospita l attendants to take the body away. As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man ask ed if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch , and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone. Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elb ow to take his first look at the real world outside. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed. It faced a blank wall. The man asked the nurse what c ould have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things ou tside this window. The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall. She said, "Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you." Taken from 33

34 CHAPTER 4: BE CONCRETE IN CARING EXAMPLES OF THIS POINT LIVED IN THE VILLAGE: • We host a children’s flea market in the village. Many have commented that the atmosphere is very generous and cheerful. Venders sometimes give away their toys and clothes. One captain gave away a doll hou se for a resident artist to use hared with residents in need over in illustrations. Many, left over toys have been s the years. We received donated spaghetti and pancake breakfas t tickets, which block • captains share with those on their blocks. One wom an called a minute after receiving them, saying it was so perfect. She did n ot know how she was going to cook her supper that night and these tickets arrive d at right moment. • After activities in the Village, food that is rema ining is donated to the local shelter ment brought left over for women and children. One time, our fire depart spaghetti from a dinner and it was accepted with gr eat joy at our local nursing home. • At Christmas and even at other holidays, residents give their own unused gift certificates, buy gift certificates, offer money to help pay the bills of those in need. Our local restaurants offer two-person free dinner s. One even shared their • leftover catering meal with a local homeless shelte r. • Job opportunities are also circulated by email and posted at the village hall and our local library. 34

35 CHAPTER 4: BE CONCRETE IN CARING— EXPERIENCES FROM OUR VILLAGE Results of Living this Point—In Other Words— Caring Gives Back Story #1-- ng foreclosure on her townhouse. There was a fifty year old grandmother who was faci She had custody of her two grandchildren. We helped with gift certificates & items from the Giving Tree, Salvation Army emergency money, an d food collected from our Christmas party. She was so grateful that about th ree weeks later, still facing financial problems, she called to say that she had gathered f our boxes of clothes that her grandchildren had outgrown. She brought them and sa id to please give them to other children in need. She wanted to give back. We did a s she asked and took them to over to the local school. Story #2-- A woman was to be evicted from her apartment. Again we shared items from the Giving Tree, food and emergency money. The mayor suggested a lawyer from town who pro bono negotiated with her landlord to avoid her goin g to court for back rent. A block captain told us about an empty apartment in her bui lding. Two other captains offered to pay the first two months rent. Another helped her g et a job at a nearby store. At that time, a woman called who was cleaning out her aunt' s house and offered sheets and towels for someone. It was just what this person n eeded! She was so grateful that she made a homemade card for the woman who had given he r the household goods since to come and help package cookies she did not have money to buy one. She took a bus ot give back in money, but I can offer for the baskets for homebound. She told us, "I cann to help those who helped me by cleaning, or washing . Things are finally starting to look up for me." Story #3-- their house to fall into disrepair. There was a couple in town whose poor health caused Neighbors complained and there was need for much cl eaning to be done in the house. It was so bad that the village could have called he alth authorities, but the mayor said to try to live like the love cube---be the first to lo ve. So we asked them what the village could do and the man asked us to cut the grass sinc e his leg had been broken; the village did this for free. Our Recreation Departmen t prepared plates of leftover food from our events and we took it to them. We contacted an agency in a nearby town to help out and they even found a good refrigerator that was be ing thrown out. We called and listened to the concerns of the coupl e. Our Council on Aging was so impressed how our town was handling this that th ey found grant money to help with the cleaning. The woman called us one day to come over. She opened the door and had tears in her eyes. She said that she was so gra teful for how the village had cared for them. and she said, " I want to give something back". She picked up and gave us a very pretty fur coat in a dry cleaner bag. She said to give it to someone who needs it. We do not think any gift touched me us much as that one fur coat! 35

36 CHAPTER 4—BE CONCRETE IN CARING--- STORIES WHICH ILLUSTRATE “CARING GIVES BACK” Carl was a Quiet Man always greet you with a big smile Carl was a quiet man. He didn't talk much. He would and a firm handshake. Even after living in our neig hborhood for over 50 years, no one could really say they knew him very well. Before his retirement, he took the bus to work each morning. The lone sight of him walking down the street often worried us. He had a slight limp from a bullet wound received in World War II. Watching him, we worried that although he had survived the war, he may not make through our changing uptown ne ighborhood with its ever- increasing random violence, gangs, and drug activit y. When he saw the flier at our local church asking for volunteers for caring for the gar dens behind the minister's residence, he responded in his characteristically unassuming m anner. Without fanfare, he just signed up. He was well into his 87th year when the very thing we had always feared finally happened. He was just finishing his watering for th e day when three gang members approached him. Ignoring their attempt to intimidat e him, he simply asked, "Would you like a drink from the hose?" The tallest and toughe st-looking of the three said, "Yeah, sure," with a malevolent little smile. As Carl offe red the hose to him, the other two grabbed Carl's arm, throwing him down. As the hose snaked crazily over the ground, ole his retirement watch and his wallet, dousing everything in its way, Carl's assailants st and then fled. Carl tried to get himself up, but he had been throw n down on his bad leg. He lay there ng to help him. Although the minister trying to gather himself as the minister came runni 't get there fast enough to stop it. had witnessed the attack from his window, he couldn "Carl, are you okay? Are you hurt?" the minister ke pt asking as he helped Carl to his feet. Carl just passed a hand over his brow and sig hed, shaking his head. "Just some punk kids. I hope they'll wise up somed ay." His wet clothes clung to his slight frame as he bent to pick up the hose. He adj usted the nozzle again and started to water. Confused and a little concerned, the minist er asked, "Carl, what are you doing?" "I've got to finish my watering. It's been very dry lately," came the calm reply. Satisfying himself that Carl really was all right, the ministe r could only marvel. Carl was a man from a different time and place. A few weeks later the three returned. Just as befor e their threat was unchallenged. Carl again offered them a drink from his hose. This time they didn't rob him. They wrenched the hose from his hand and drenched him head to foo t in the icy water. When they had finished their humiliation of him, they sauntered o ff down the street, throwing catcalls e hilarity of what they had just done. and curses, falling over one another laughing at th 36

37 Carl just watched them. Then he turned toward the w armth giving sun, picked up his quickly fading into fall. Carl was hose, and went on with his watering. The summer was en approach of someone behind doing some tilling when he was startled by the sudd him. He stumbled and fell into some evergreen bra nches As he struggled to regain his mmer tormentors reaching down for footing, he turned to see the tall leader of his su on't worry old man, I'm not gonna him. He braced himself for the expected attack. "D hurt you this time." The young man spoke softly, st ill offering the tattooed and scarred hand to Carl. As he helped Carl get up, the man pul led a crumpled bag from his pocket and handed it to Carl. "What's this?" Carl asked. "It's your stuff," the man explained. "It's your stuff back. Even the money in your wallet." "I don't understand," C arl said. "Why would you help me now?" The man shifted his feet, seeming embarrassed and i ll at ease. "I learned something from you," he said. "I ran with that gang and hurt people like you. We picked you because you were old and we knew we could do it. Bu t every time we came and did something to you, instead of yelling and fighting b ack, you tried to give us a drink. You didn't hate us for hating you. You kept showing lov e against our hate." He stopped for a moment "I couldn't sleep after we stole your stuff, so here it is back." He paused for another awkward moment, not knowing what more there was to say. "That bag's my way of saying thanks for straightening me out, I gu ess." And with that, he walked off down the street. rly opened it. He took out his Carl looked down at the sack in his hands and ginge retirement watch and put it back on his wrist. Open ing his wallet, he checked for his wedding photo. He gazed for a moment at the young b ride that still smiled back at him from all those years ago. He died one cold day after Christmas that winter. M any people attended his funeral in spite of the weather. In particular the minister no ticed a tall young man that he didn't know sitting quietly in a distant corner of the chu rch. The minister spoke of Carl's garden as a lesson in life. In a voice made thick w ith unshed tears, he said, "Do your best and make your garden as beautiful as you can. We will never forget Carl and his garden." The following spring another flier went up. It read : "Person needed to care for Carl's garden." The flier went unnoticed by the busy paris hioners until one day when a knock was heard at the minister's office door. Opening th e door, the minister saw a pair of scarred and tattooed hands holding the flier. "I be lieve this is my job, if you'll have me," the young man said. The minister recognized him as the same young man w ho had returned the stolen watch and wallet to Carl. He knew that Carl's kindn ess had turned this man's life 37

38 around. As the minister handed him the keys to the garden shed, he said, "Yes, go take care of Carl's garden and honor him." The man went to work and, over the next several yea rs, he tended the flowers and vegetables just as Carl had done. In that time, he went to college, got married, and became a prominent member of the community. But he never forgot his promise to e thought Carl would have kept it. Carl's memory and kept the garden as beautiful as h One day he approached the new minister and told him that he couldn't care for the garden any longer. He explained with a shy and happ y smile, "My wife just had a baby boy last night, and she's bringing him home on Satu rday." "Well, congratulations!" said the minister, as he was handed the garden shed keys . "That's wonderful! " he replied What's the baby's name?" “Carl” Taken From: Waitress at a Diner He was driving home one evening, on a two-lane coun try road. Work, in this small mid- western community, was almost as slow as his beat-u p Pontiac. But he never quit looking. Ever since the Levis factory closed, he'd been unemployed, and with winter raging on, the chill had finally hit home. It was a lonely road. Not very many people had a reason to be on it, unless they were leaving. Mos t of his friends had already left. They had families to feed and dreams to fulfill. But he stayed on. After all, this was where he buried his mother and father. He was born here and knew the country. He could go down this road blind, and tell you what was on either side, and with his headlights not working, that came in handy. It was starting to get dark and light snow flurries were coming down. He'd better get a move o n. You know, he almost didn't see the old lady, strand ed on the side of the road. But even in the dim light of day, he could see she needed he lp. So he pulled up in front of her Mercedes and got out. His Pontiac was still sputter ing when he approached her. Even with the smile on his face, she was worried. No one had stopped to help for the last hour or so. Was he going to hurt her? He didn't loo k safe, he looked poor and hungry. He could see that she was frightened, standing out there in the cold. He knew how she felt. It was that chill that only fear can put in y ou. He said, "I'm here to help you ma'am. Why don't you wait in the car where it's warm. By the way, my name is Joe." Well, all she had was a flat tire, but for an old l ady, that was bad enough. Joe crawled under the car looking for a place to put the jack, skinning his knuckles a time or two. Soon he was able to change the tire. But he had to get dirty and his hands hurt. As he was tightening up the lug nuts, she rolled down her window and began to talk to him. She told him that she was from St. Louis and was on ly just passing through. She couldn't thank him enough for coming to her aid. Jo e just smiled as he closed her trunk. 38

39 She asked him how much she owed him. Any amount wou ld have been alright with her. could have happened had he not She had already imagined all the awful things that his was not job to him. This was stopped. Joe never thought twice about the money. T helping someone in need, and God knows there were p lenty who had given him a hand and it never occurred to him to act any in the past. He had lived his whole life that way, other way. He told her that if she really wanted to pay him back, the next time she saw someone who needed help, she could give that person the assistance that they needed, and Joe added "...and think of me." He waited until she started her car and drove off. It had been a cold and depressing day, but he felt good as he headed for home, disappearin g into the twilight. A few miles down the road the lady saw a small cafe. She went in to grab a bite to eat, and take the chill off before she made the last leg of her trip home. It was a dingy looking restaurant. Outside were two old gas pumps. The whole scene was unfamiliar to her. The cash register was like the telephone of an out of work a ctor; it didn't ring much. Her waitress came over and brought a clean towel to wipe her wet hair. She had a sweet smile, one that even being on her feet for th e whole day couldn't erase. The lady noticed that the waitress was nearly eight months p regnant, but she never let the strain and aches change her attitude. The old lady wondere d how someone who had so little could be so nice and giving to a total stranger. I t was then she remembered Joe. After the lady finished her meal, and the waitress went to get her change from a door. She was gone by the time the hundred dollar bill, the lady slipped right out the ld be, then she noticed waitress came back. She wondered where the lady cou something written on a napkin. There were tears in her eyes as she read what the lady en there too. Someone once helped wrote. It said, "You don't owe me a thing, I've be to pay me back, here's what you do. me out, the way I'm helping you. If you really want Don't let the chain of love end with you." Well, there were tables to clear, sugar bowls to fi ll, and people to serve, but the waitress made it through another day. That night when she go t home from work and climbed into bed, she was thinking about the money and what the lady had written. How could she have known how much she and her husband needed it? And with the baby due next month, it was going to be hard. She knew how worrie d her husband was, and as he lay sleeping next to her, she gave him a soft kiss and whispered soft and low, "I just know everything's gonna be alright; I love you, Joe." Originally written from a true experience by the la te Jonnie Barnett and Rory Lee. It was first recorded by Clay Walker, then Charlie Pride in a so ng called Chain of Love . It is reproduced arnett Kaye. Her website is here with written with permission from Barbara A. B 39

40 PART 2: STRUCTURE & ACTIVITIES OF NEIGHBORHOOD SERVICES CHAPTER 1: HOW WE ARE STRUCTURED The Mayor supports this program and gives members t he freedom to explore new ideas to promote this committee throughout the village. We have 3 Area Representative main positions in our organization: Block Captain, and Coordinator. Below is a description of each pos ition. THE BLOCK CAPTAIN The Block Captain is the heart of the Mayor's Commi ttee of Neighborhood Services. We have 100 block captains who spread this network of caring over our town day by ir neighbors to the doctor; they ask day as they live the art of caring. They drive the home from the hospital; they make neighbors to all sign a card for a neighbor coming sure their neighbors are safe when there is a power outage; they invite neighbors over to share a meal or a cup of coffee; they shovel sno w; they rake leaves. Their children bring cards, flowers, or little gifts to those in n eed on the block. They are always on call. The block captains can be young, older, single, or couples. At one time, there were local school. North Riverside captains junior block captains from the eighth grade in the ent heroes who, one by one, block by range in age from about 30 to 96. They are the sil block, serve their neighbors. HOW DID WE IDENTIFY THE BLOCK CAPTAINS? It has not been difficult to recruit the persons to serve as block captains. We knew that even though they were called captains, they were bl ock "servers". They were the ones who lived the golden rule. Also this was and conti nues to be a nonpolitical group. We also would ask people we knew on each block," Who i s the person that takes the mail, take out the garbage cans when people were on vacat ion...Who snowplowed the block?" Then we would call that person and tell them they w ere recommended by their neighbors since they already were concerned about t hose who lived on the block. Also we would check at local churches and school groups. Sometimes block captains, who could not serve any longer, recommended people they knew. We would ask in the village newsletter explaining this was a job of ser ving. We began with 72 captains. About 23 are now deceased. Some have retired. But we continue to grow, with younger individuals and couples. There are now 100 block captains in our village with a population of almost 6900. 40

41 THE AREA REPRESENTATIVE nd each area has a person who The neighborhoods are grouped together into areas a coordinates activities and communication in his/her area. This person is called the area representative. Each one tries to use the opportun ities they are given to connect with their block captains in their area---calling them t o find out their positive stories as well as their concerns. Some area reps have annual get toge thers at their house so they can mix informally with the captains in their area and get to know one another. THE COORDINATOR Each person who reads this manual will bring his or her own perspective, talents and experience into what this program can accomplish in each organization, church or town. However, the role of a coordinator requires a certa in philosophy to succeed. We had a few ideas when we began, but it was working togethe r and being open to others that allowed all the aspects to develop. It is important to point out that we deliberately c hose the word 'coordinator' rather than `director.' This was done to emphasize that the rol e was to bring people together, facilitate joint decisions and receive ideas and st ories from the block captains and then use every means to share these throughout the town. Also it was to stress that all of us from the coordinator to the captains are block SERV ERS - we serve our neighbors throughout the day. Quote From Carol Spale—Our Coordinator As coordinator, I felt I had to always keep before me the two-fold goal of this program: to create a sense of family among the memb ers of our committee that idge between the residents would overflow and cover our town and to build a br nted through providing and village officials. The second goal was impleme handouts, which would make our residents aware of r esources or events. Ideas for handouts often came from the area representativ es or the mayor. But the first goal, I believe, is the essence of th e role of the coordinator. The coordinator must always try to create a sense of fa mily. This is done by putting into practice four points of the art of caring: (1) be the first to reach out; (2) reach out to everyone; (3) be one with people sharing the ir joys and sorrows as if they are your own; and (4) be concrete in helping in eve ry encounter throughout the day. We found that, with time, this leads neighbors to g ive back so that a feeling of all working together to help and share with one another is created. Although this may not seem to have a lot to do with the organizat ion of the committee, it has everything to do with changing how people interact with one another. The coordinator must consciously be aware of this and b e an example of how a person should live with this new perspective of see ing all as brothers and sisters. 41

42 EXPERIENCES ILLUSTRATING THE COORDINATOR ROLE IN SHARING THE SPIRIT OF THE ART OF CARING Many times people are referred to me because of fin ancial or caregiving needs. I really try to listen attentively to them, feeling t heir concerns as my own. Many times I share how this town had helped us when we w ere in need with our son David who has multiple disabilities. I tell them w e needed help as a family and turns being in need and in our neighbors helped. Now they need help. We take helping. If they call me "Ma'am", I correct them a nd stress I am "Carol". I want them to see our conversation as person to person, l ike brothers and sisters. One time an article was published in the local pape r about the Mayor's o create the spirit of Committee of Neighborhood Services and how we try t so happy, thinking she had family. A woman called about the article and I was Her next sentence changed been touched by it and might want to be a captain. all that. She said, 'Well, I have no o ne welcomed me..." and told me of her troubles. At first, I wanted to defend the p rogram. But fortunately I remembered "to be one with neighbors" and I kept qu iet and listened. I then let her know I was so sorry that the program had not wo rked for her. By the end of our conversation, we had built a rapport. I found out about her dad who was that a captain would adopt once a major league baseball player. We worked out f her block. She felt cared her block and talked about ways to meet the needs o about and she then was able to reach out. These meetings are a chance One night we had a meeting of the block captains. captains and get to know them for the area representatives to sit with the block and their blocks better. That night, due to many c ircumstances, very few area reps came. I felt lost because I count on them to talk to the twelve block captains at their table, to get the handouts to those absent , and to support me during my presentation because I am not comfortable talking i n front of groups. My first reaction was that the meeting should have been thei r priority. I wondered if they understood what the program was about. But, when I arrived home, I thought that my response should be to take out note cards a nd write to each area rep. I told them how grateful I was for all they had done before and that I had missed them that night. I felt so peaceful after that and I realized that what was important was not coming to a meeting, but the sens e of caring. I realized that they could not care about their captains unless I c ared about them. In the end, we all felt closer and the next time we had the mee ting, they were able to come. 42

43 JOB DESCRIPTIONS OF AREA REPRESENTATIVES & BLOCK CAPTAINS “Creating a Sense of Family” MAYOR’S COMMITTEE OF NEIGHBORHOOD SERVICES Area Representative Procedures 1. Meet with the Mayor and coordinator prior to blo ck captain meetings. -Call all your block captains before the meeting (a lso to know their needs). -If you can’t attend the meeting, please call a sub stitute and notify the coordinator. 2. Distribute welcome bags monthly to block captain s (deliver if necessary). The coordinator will contact you if you have any new re sidents in the area. -Distribute trees to captains at Christmas (those o n the west side, pick them up from the village). 3. Call all of your block captains a few days befor e the Block Captains meeting to see if they will be able to attend. If they can’t, please have them send a substitute. Make sure all welcome bags and handouts get to ALL the block captains (deliver if necessary). Please keep the coordinator up to date if any of yo ur block captains have needs or health problems. Block Captain Procedures 1. Handouts are to be distributed within two weeks of a meeting. 2. If you wish, take a notebook or paper to record any resident’s requests, complaints, or suggestions. Try to see each resident at least once a year when distributing handouts. 3. If a resident is not home, place handout materia ls in plastic doorknob bag and hand on their door. 4. Contact your area representative with any feedba ck. Please call the Recreation Dept. at 442-5515 or Carol Spale at 447-4932 if you are unable to reach your representative. 5. Welcome bags should be distributed within two we eks. If this person is not home, leave a note on the door with your name, address an d phone number. DO NOT JUST LEAVE IT ON THE PORCH. 6. Please remember to wear your name badges at futu re meetings. THANKS FOR ALL YOUR HELP!!! 43

44 CHAPTER 2: OUR MEETINGS We have two types of meetings approximately 3 times a year. They are described below: Area Representatives Meetings: rector, all the area The Mayor meets with the coordinator, Recreation Di representatives to choose speakers for the three la rge block captain meetings, to share problems and initiatives in village and he ar area representatives concerns and positive feedback. This meeting occurs 2 weeks to a month prior to the time the larger meeting is scheduled. Each area re presentative shares for about seven minutes at the meeting. The mayor often stay s after the meeting to hear anything additional things they have to say. We sa y that these meetings should be more than just a meeting but a spirit to be live d in our community. There are two experiences that illustrate what thes e meetings are like and what the area representatives try to live in this role. One time, one of the area representatives, who is • a very busy professional, brought the little Christmas trees to each captain in her area ghbor who had been so they could then in turn give the tree to the nei se to give them the chosen that year. The area rep made herself a promi tree, but then to wait a few minutes and not rush t o the next person's house. She was amazed because the first two captain s were so grateful she remained and talked with them about their conce rns. She only visited two captains in a half hour but she felt that by li stening, she helped to create the network of caring, one by one, with the block captains in her area. • Another time, one of the area reps had to babysit her children in the same building as we were holding the area rep meeting. W e saw her looking through the glass doors. Afterwards, she told the c oordinator that she wished so much that she could have come inside and be with all of us. She said that she liked the atmosphere even more at these core meetings than the big meetings. Afterwards, we took the left over bakery from the uld know how much meeting and gave it to her and her family so she wo she was missed. 44

45 Block Captains Meetings : ee "large" block captain The Mayor, Trustees and Department Heads attend thr meetings during the year (usually Sept., Feb., May) along with the block ess pertinent issues — captains and "junior high captains.” Speakers addr seniors, safety, and local programs. The Coordinato r is given time to explain handouts (which Recreation department prepares) and share motivational stories/positive feedback to maintain enthusiasm am ong the captains. The Mayor ends the meeting after a question and answer period for adults & teens. representatives (each Before all meetings either the coordinator or area captain to personally remind responsible for 12 block captains) calls each block nd see if they themselves are in them of the meeting, hear their positive feedback a ey can better create a any need — to make them also feel like family so th "family" on their block. The Coordinator sends out cards to any block captain for happy/sad times. There is a five to ten minute talk on the art of ca ring presented at each meeting. These is based on either current event stories, int ernet stories, or happenings in the village. For example, a week before our winter meeting, there was a big snowstorm. It was on a Saturday and many people cam e out to help. Some offered to shovel steps for plowed the whole blocks for their neighbors. Others did to help others, then the seniors on their blocks. We saw what residents emailed the block captains for any additional stori es they knew about; and, finally, summarized the best stories that we heard. Sometimes at our meetings, one or two of the captai ns agree to stand up and talk about their block parties, or acts of kindness thei r neighbors have done for one another. After their short talks, we follow up with an internet story or newspaper article or quote which emphasizes the point of thei r story. Other times, we share the less confidential, positi ve stories of how the little Christmas trees or amaryllis bulbs (the captains gi ve out in early December) affected their neighbors. Those stories have touch ed all of us over the years. As a result of hearing them, the block captains have l eft the meeting feeling to continue to go the extra step in caring for their n eighbor, sharing meals with neighbors, hanging "goodie" bags on their doors, et c. The stories which we have listed under each point of the art of caring are wo nderful "starters" for the talks at our meeting and hopefully can be of use. 45

46 If neighbors were sick, or if block captains were f eeling discouraged, we tried to m at that moment and find the stories or quotes or poems that helped the r and never give up. Also encouraged them to still reach out to their neighbo the trustees or department sometimes we tell true stories about the mayor and heads because we want them to see how much their pr iority of serving had made a difference and provided an example to all of us. The point of the talk is to give an injection of hope, reminding each captain that t hey are making a difference. Then, over time, they begin to see themselves as an "army of angels", as our former mayor often calls them. They are in the tren ches daily, reaching out in every little way to help their neighbors. Sample Agenda for Block Captain Meeting Mayor’s Committee of Neighborhood Services Tuesday March 24, 2009 7:30pm Community Room AGENDA 1. Mayor’s Welcoming Remarks 2. Block Captain Feedback Carol’s Feedback 3. 4. Presentation of Angel Award 5. Questions & Answers with the Mayor “There is no better exercise “There is no better exercise “There is no better exercise “There is no better exercise for your heart than reaching for your heart than reaching for your heart than reaching for your heart than reaching down and helping to lift down and helping to lift down and helping to lift down and helping to lift someone up.” someone up.” someone up.”someone up.” Bernard Meltzer 46

47 SAMPLE TALK for Block Captains Neighborhood Servic es Meeting by the Coordinator d by bursts of light illuminating the As I walk around town at night, I am often surprise ion sensors doing their thing, but I fronts of various houses. I know it is just the mot never know when they will come on. It's kind of a g ame for be ready for the light lock captains and of our town. You to turn on. This experience made me think of the b probably are wondering why. if each of us looked at our Because I thought how different the world would be neighbors, one by one, in each moment, really looke d at them-- then our eyes would mean. Many years ago, a captain become like "caring sensors' Let me explain what I e block, when she saw a woman in was driving along 23rd St., looking at houses on th the rear view mirror. The woman seemed to sway and then she fell. Immediately, the his house, another went to call captain stopped her car, another person rushed from ptain and the others tried to find 911. One brought a blanket to keep her warm. The ca out from her where she lived. They worked together - they were all on the lookout to help at a moment's notice. The woman did not feel a fraid and they were able to help her recall her address and have the ambulance take her home. A few years ago, in the early morning, a captain wa s driving down Eighth Avenue, her eye, she thought she saw a petite rushing home to her children. Out of the corner of She could not believe it and she older lady crawling on the sidewalk toward a house. stopped her car. She found that the lady had fallen , was bleeding, and needed help to four years of visits, of listening, of get back into her home. That encounter led to about relationship lasted until she had to the lady cooking for the family of the captain. The move to a nursing home. But it all began because t he captain was looking around while she drove home; she was ready to reach out if neede d, her caring sensor was on. Another day, not so long ago, a small child came to North Riverside library with a cake. He wanted to give it to a clerk there who shared hi s birthday. When the rest of the staff heard, for a minute, they all stopped what they wer e doing and all together„ with the little boy, sang happy birthday to the lady. Why- because they saw a chance to be like family, and that was more important than continuing their work for that moment. Just a couple of weeks ago, our village clerk went out to visit a long time resident, who now lived alone. She wanted to interview her on the "old days" in town, but she also thought of how to make this lady happy. And, you know what, she brought her a bouquet of flowers! The lady told her friends about this for days afterwards. This extra touch of kindness had brightened her day. 47

48 Last, but not least, I need to tell you about the c aptain and village officials who helped who worked at the hospital came to my family while I was in the hospital. The captain my room to see what I needed and brought a notepad and special soaps. She knew my uncle was also in the same hospital and went to vis it him. She talked to him for an hour. He became like her uncle too! Then, she went home and cooked a meal for our family, offered to shop, and offered to stay with our son w ith disabilities. I believe she must have had eyes that were "caring sensors even on the back of her head". There were so many acts of kindness. We also received the most delicious chili from Sue and the most beautiful flower arrangement I have ever seen from the Mayor and Vil lage Board. To me, all these actions speak louder than any words because, as the late Chiara Lubich, once said, " .., each of us will find that we possess inexhaustible treasures: our free time, our love, our st like those motion sensors that turn smile, our advice, our peace, our words" are not ju on in the dark of night. We are the "caring sensors" that are ready light up the heart of our neighbor 24/7 because, in our neighbor we see, not just a neighbo r, but a brother, a sister, a mother, a ighbor in turn is able to carry this light father. We see all as part of one family and our ne to another ,and that person to another ,and, then, to another...until one day our whole town will be lit with acts of caring, and you will know that you, each of you, helped it all to begin. 48

49 CHAPTER 3: - ACTIVITIES WHICH ASSIST NEIGHBORHOOD SERVICES 1. Welcome Bag- , to every new resident on his/her A canvas bag, is given personally by block captains block within two months of moving in. The recreati on department prepares these and they k captains. If the residents are not are delivered by area representatives to their bloc home, the captain leaves a note saying they were so rry they had not reached them and rs. ask them to call their phone number to receive thei Welcome Bag Contents It is different each time but we normally put in: Recycling bags Recreation book Emergency Card with the important numbers on it( wi th magnet for easy placement) Village Newsletter Information from local organizations or churches 911 phone sticker Any give-a-ways- at this time a ruler, pen, fly swa tter Info from Commonwealth Edison Any current event handouts ( left over from block c aptain distribution) Calendar of Events in Village 2.Christmas Trees The Village budgets enough to purchase 120 four-inc h decorated live Christmas trees. Block captains pick one up in early December and ch oose an individual or family on their block to receive it. Sometimes the family ha s gone through a hospitalization, the death of a loved one, or a prolonged illness. Some time the tree goes to a new resident, or to a family that has just welcomed a new baby. Each captain is given only one tree and each one usually 'knows" the one they want to g ive it to. However, they can request up to two extra if they feel there are more on their block that would appreciate this gift. The tree is then given to the family, t elling them that they were one of the 120 chosen to receive this gift from the Village for th at year. The block captains share with area representatives or coordinator all the positive feedback, the joys, and the hugs. These "stories" are shared at the meetings or in a special "block captain" newsletter so the captains are given positive encouragement so as not to get discouraged. 49

50 Christmas Tree Stories • es as gifts from her father One woman who in her past had received holiday tre and father- in-law was sad because in the past they had been stolen. The woman had just gone to reunion and was thinking of the past and these relatives. When the captain gave her the tree, she started cry ing. The Captain asked if she was okay. She said they were tears of joy because now she felt so close to these relatives again. • One captain decided to give a tree to a family exp eriencing serious illness. They were new residents and had been so pleased with the outpouring of generosity the village and neighbors have been giving them. W hen the captain stopped there, the woman of the house was so excited to kno w that she was chosen. She told her that her friends and family don't beli eve how wonderful the village has been to them. It's like "Mayberry". She gave he r a hug and a huge thank you and holiday wishes too. • A woman called and asked why the village had been so rude on the phone. We tried to listen and understand. Finally, we asked w hich department she had called--what number? She gave us the phone number and it was not that of the village at all! There had been a misprint in newsp aper. So we asked her what she had needed. Then we thought to ask if she woul d like a tree. She was so happy because she had no decorations at all. The w rong phone number was the right one in the end. One block captain went over to deliver a tree to a new resident but no one was • home. The next day she went over to the house again but still no one. She went s was a special day for him. . a third time and the man answered and said that thi It was the perfect time to deliver the tree!! 3.Sharing Board Last year, we decided to place a sharing board on t he wall in the village hall. People share their need s and wants, without phone numbers People can call the village if they see something they need and we match the people wit h needs. We also list local volunteer opportunities, in addition to village-wid e food drives and shoe drives. (excerpts from our village newsletter) Sharing Board--PERFECT MATCHES • One older couple requested a turkey. The next day, the village called to ask if anyone could use a turkey that was donated. The cou ple was so grateful and so surprised. • One resident wished she could have cans of Ensure. A week later, a captain ay a case of Ensure! The emailed that someone at her workplace was giving aw resident was amazed. 50

51 • The "Traveling Box of Cookies"—Mary gave a 3-pound box of brand name but thought that Make a cookies to her friend Joan. Joan loved the cookies Difference Day was the perfect day to share them. So she called Jean who had took the cookies back to his three growing sons. One of the boys came over and home. But Jean thought, "How can I keep these cook ies just for myself and my family?" So she turned around and called over the neighborhood children, who helped eat up the box of cookies. And that is how a 3-pound box of cookies traveled through North Riverside making many people happy! 4. Neighbor Handouts We try to do our yearly village events calendar in a handout form so people are aware of what is going on. Also we try to include health re sources, safety when leaving home aper attached where the captain unattended. etc. There is always a half sheet of p /she then says to be sure to call writes his/her name, address, and phone number. He him/her if problems or concerns because we want the m to know that they are never alone without help. We also have those in school distribute handouts to those blocks without captains. There is an insert asking if they would like to be a captain and help their neighbors. Importance of Handouts We try to see each person on block once a year. On ce, a person died and we found only one thing left at her apartment. It was the list of all emergency numbers, and a note from block captain with his num ber. She had lived alone but knew there was someone who cared. 5. Block Parties and Block Garage Sales- In the summer, the block captains distribute a shee t asking neighbors if they want to get together for a block party or have a block garage s ale. We also told them not to feel bad if they don't get many replies. One of the blo ck captains, a young mother said," No, just start even with two people and then it can gro w the following year." So even if only two return the slips, the captain still may have inform al get together with snacks and just bring lawn chairs. They try to find some way to put people together, to help them get to know their neighbors. 51

52 52

53 Block Party Stories We Heard from the Captains • knew I could not do a big I asked my neighbor if she would help me because I organization thing, but everything fell apart. The woman who was going to print ed to do it even for a small up announcement could not do it. But we still decid number. We thought to have a get acquainted party where people just bring a end of one of the blocks, So lawn chair, a munchie and sit from 2-4 p.m. at the that is what we did. We called neighbors personall y that morning and they came. nd another who was 80 a The neighbors sang for one who had just turned 75 a week before. In the end, there were 26 adults and seven kids and the young guys enjoyed it so much they want to do a bigger an d better one next year. Neighbors did not go home until an hour after it wa s supposed to end, and they were so happy. They shared leftovers with all those who could not come. • Country Club lane had its 1st block party in YEARS . Neighbors who have been here for years met other neighbors who have been he re for years—as well as meeting the new kids on the block. The rain stoppe d just in time to let up set up for the night and we had a Fantastic evening. We ev en made plans to do this bigger next year as well as plan a united block gar age sale for the spring. 53

54 At first I was glad the block party was canceled d • ue to rain because I was tired. But, when we called those who were coming to tell t hem the rain had caused cancellation, one elderly couple who were in poor h ealth offered their basement so the neighbors could still come. I was surprised because the lady could hardly ever go down in the basement and sometimes needed o xygen just to come up the steps. But they insisted. I called the other neighbors who were also touched, as I was, by their generosity. I even started makin g a casserole and baking cookies. Some neighbors went to help set up, 19 cam e and we had Chinese, Spanish, and American food. A couple of those pres ent took two plates of food over to a couple could not come since the wife has dementia and husband 's back hurt very much. All shared the leftovers and a ll took home samples of food. There was such a feeling of family and it happened all because one act of generosity, one act of kindness. It was an amazing block "basement" party! • One captain, whose block was not open to a party, instead wrote a creative letter telling all to meet in front a person's house to sa y goodbye to an old friend. The last line talked about an old tree being cut down. Three people came and sat and watched and talked. The “old friend”, the Tree had brought some neighbors together. 54

55 6. Our Kindness Card This is given to captains to give to workers in sto res, post offices, etc, throughout our town. Thanks for being kind to me today, Please pass this on to someone Who helps you along the way! 7. Angel Awards meone in our community has done Our village gives angel awards when we feel that so ecial way. An angel pin is also something which serves the entire community in a sp in our newsletter when we discover given to the recipient. We also note angel stories or. someone going out of his/her way to assist a neighb present: Some examples of the types of Angel Awards we would A man who snow plowed his block and the next, and then put snowplow into car • eled after the blizzard. and drove around town helping where it was not shov • A woman called to offer her attic full of Avon sup plies for the homebound baskets e we write in newsletter. at Christmas. She saw they were needed from the pag ething for each basket and Because of her generosity, we were able to give som the nursing home at gifts left over for staff. 55

56 EXAMPLE: Angel Award Certificate This Angel Award is presented to Name of Recipient The 2010 Richard N. Scheck Angel Award is Recipient’s Name, in being presented to Recipient’s Name Recipient’s NameRecipient’s Name recognition of his/her outstanding service to his neighbors, for his/her unselfish donation of time to those in need, and for setting an example for other families in our Village on how to reach out to others to make a difference in our community. Mayor______________________________________________ ___ ___________ Dated ______________________________________________ 56

57 8. Village Newsletter We are able to share resources, needs, and “angel” stories in our quarterly newsletter, We have been told that residents really enjoy readi ng them. The purpose is to give residents outside of our committee ideas on how to help their neighbors. Here are three copies of our page in the newsletter: Example 1-- 57

58 Example 2 58

59 Example 3 59

60 9. The Love Cube This is a tool used in many schools throughout the world in which the points of the Art of Loving(called the Art of Caring in N. Riverside) ar e put into a cube form and thrown by children who then decide to live the point which la nds side up. We had the love cube, which has the points of the a rt of loving on each side, given to the captains at one meeting and we asked them to th row it. Then told them they had to live what lauded on top. There was a gasp throughou t the room but we tried it. In one newsletter, we printed the stories printed a bove of children in town who lived the golden rule when they threw their love cubes. Children’s Experiences • "Do onto others" Glen 5 1/2 years old: His sister Jenna (3) and Glen were brushing their teeth. Glen was finished first so when he was done rinsing his teeth, he filled the cup up with water for his sister. • "Love one another" Nathan 5 years old: Loves to go to the store with d ad but cannot leave the store without getting something for his 3 year brother Aa ron or mom. • "Love one another" As we were waiting for the parade for the 1244th Tr ansport Company to return to NR on 7/30, Jenna (3) and Glen (5 1/2) were given b alloons to celebrate their Glen said he'd share his return home from Iraq. Jenna's balloon flew away so balloon and let her hold his. 60


62 Summary: s The Results of Living Art of Caring Over These Year Magazine May 2007 — Printed in: Living City Winner of 2008 the Knights of Columbus' McGivney Aw ard for Volunteerism Journalism — Third Place linois The Village With a Caring Heart North Riverside, Il Citizens and politicians around the world are focus ing their efforts on renewing their cities, towns and villages with the spirituality of unity. This new monthly section will highlight success stories as inspiration for action. By Carol Spale In 1979 our family moved to the village of North Ri verside, a suburb of about 6,000 near Chicago. During this time, our son David, who was severely disabled, required constant attention, inc luding an involved physical therapy program that required three people at a time in order to walk. move his arms and legs so that he could be able to We were overwhelmed by the natural goodness of our neighbors. A core group of about 20 neighbors alternated coming seven days a week, twice a day, for six years. Even the firemen from our town helped out on weekends and holidays. I felt such gratitude that I asked God to show our family a way to give back to this town and its residents. Not long after thi s, the mayor of North Riverside, Richard Scheck, wrote a letter to all re sidents asking for ideas for his new Committee of Neighborhood Services prog ram. I answered, and soon afterward the mayor asked me to be its coordin ator. There was no blueprint for our program. There were 72 block captains, each responsible for one block of North Riverside. I proposed that the block e no one would feel captains try to make each block like a family, wher alone. The mayor liked my idea. 62

63 At that time, Chiara Lubich had begun talking about the "art of loving." It reating a sense of family seemed that these principles could be a basis for c o four points, which I called in North Riverside. I adapted the art of loving int the Art of Caring: 1. Be first to reach out to others. 2. Reach out to everyone. 3. Care concretely. 4. Be one with joys and sorrows. My plan was that during each captains' meeting, I w ould take one of the points and illustrate it by using an experience tha t one of the block captains had shared with me. At first, I had to use stories based on my own experiences and those of my husband Frank, or quota tions from famous people like Mother Teresa, or stories from magazine s or newspapers that told of people living the Golden Rule. After a coup le of years, however, some of the block captains themselves starting shar ing what they had done. One of the first experiences shared by a captain wa s about a new resident of the block whose dogs were left outside barking. Instead of complaining to "love their enemies" by to the police, the captain and the neighbors tried er and even helping her reaching out to the dog owner, baking cookies for h retrieve her dogs when they escaped out of the yard . Only then did they approach her with their concerns about how the cons tant barking was affecting the newborn baby on the block. Many of th e other captains said they were touched by how much they had tried to lov e without causing a confrontation. aptains give welcome These days, to "be first to reach out," the block c bags to new residents, sometimes with homemade cook ies, and small live decorated trees at Christmas. One block captain dec ided to give one of these trees to a man who had just been sent to a nu rsing home. When his wife brought him the tree from the mayor and the vi llage, he could not believe he had been chosen for this gift. Two month s later, this man died, eant and how serene his but the wife told us how much the little tree had m departure had been. 63

64 To "reach out to everyone" the captains knock on ev eryone's door on their le, on one particular block, even those hard to get along with. For examp ng had not attended the block, there was a couple who for three years runni all the neighbors gave annual block party. When they finally did turn out, them a round of applause. To "care concretely," we distribute information pac kets targeted to specific groups, such as seniors and families. One time, a c aptain who was delivering the information packets discovered an ol der couple who had no working stove. When we told the mayor, the mayor bo ught a stove for them with his own money. To "be one with joys and sorrows," captains take in terest in people, especially those experiencing personal suffering. W e send cards, bring food, listen to people's troubles. We use e-mails t o communicate special needs. By practicing the Art of Caring, we started to buil d an overall network that today truly covers this town. On a regular basis, s ome captains even do extra by volunteering to drive people in town to do ctors, or shopping for groceries for the homebound. the Art of Caring into The mayor and the trustees themselves have also put ts of kindness during the practice, so I started to share stories of their ac captains meetings. For example, at one point, we ha d a block captain from another political party present and the mayor welco med that person publicly and went beyond the interests of his own p arty. I pointed out how the mayor and trustees saw politi cs as a way to serve their neighbor. They were surprised to see themselv es from this perspective, being "first to reach out" or "sharing joys and sorrows." It amazed me to see how deeply they were touched by th is. Then I was asked to write a page in our quarterly v illage newsletter. I decided to share "angel stories," in which unnamed "angels" would do acts of caring for others in the town. For example, one angel visited sick people, bringing everyone a rose; another grew tomatoes and shared them with her ree for a widow who neighbors. An 88-year-old angel cut down a little t feared it would break her gutters. 64

65 Now the mayor has started giving an "angel award." He also suggested presentatives would making appreciation cards, which he and the area re had tried to help sign and we would send to people whom we had heard their neighbors, going the extra mile. In one newsletter we even printed stories of childr en in town and how they lived the Golden Rule when they rolled the "Cube of Love" which children in the Focolare Movement use daily. Each side of the c ube has one of the points of the art of loving. At a captains' meetin g soon afterward, I took a risk and gave cubes to the captains and asked them to roll them (I even gave one to the mayor). Then I told them they had t o live what landed on top! Then at a later meeting of the mayor and the area r epresentatives, one member named Joe was complaining about someone else . The mayor asked me if I had a cube with me, which I did, and told me to give it to Joe. Joe rolled the cube, which said "love your enemies. " Joe kept silent and did not say another word. to other towns. As I North Riverside has even extended the Art of Caring made contact with others outside of town to learn a bout their resources, we started to build relationships with these other tow ns. We saw that we had to love the other towns as our own. I truly believe that the art of loving can transfor m a town from top to bottom. These four points of the art of loving have created such a sense of family that people even invite relatives to move here. Peo ple driving around our town tell me they feel such peace. What touches my heart most is what one resident said a few months ago: "I am so lucky to live in a village with a caring heart." Reprinted with permission from Living City of the F ocolare Movement 65

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