Why Neighborhood Block Parties? America is facing challenges. People are confused, concerned, and frustrated. By hosting a neighborhood event, you can informally bring neighbors together so they can get to know one another, discuss interests, share skills/hobbies, and have fun! Families have the opportunity to make a positive difference in their own backyards and to be recognized by neighbors as responsible, committed citizens! Support from the Volunteer Center! Youth will earn volunteer service hours for planning and hosting a neighborhood event. In addition, youth teams can be reimbursed up to $100 in expenses! You’ll need to submit the information about your party (see registration form on back page), along with original receipts. Items we can reimburse include: food, non-alcoholic refreshments, decorations, picnic supplies (paper plates, cups, napkins, etc.), special project supplies (car wash supplies, dog bath supplies, etc.), novelties and small door prizes, and to copy invitations, surveys, directions, etc. Planning an Event Teamwork is important. Recruit other youth who live near you to help co-host the party. If you’re not sure who lives close by, call the Volunteer Center at 941-761-3207. We can research our directory to find youth and family volunteers in your neighborhood. When Should you Host a Party? We suggest hosting an event on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon between 4-6 pm….. Keep in mind that there are some national service days coming up… Global Youth Service Day (April)Make a Difference Day (October)National Family Volunteer Day (November) Where is the Best Location for the Party? If you can’t host the event in your front yard or back yard, look around your neighborhood for alternate locations…parking lots, parks, cul-de-sac, church, community center, etc. Remember to secure permission from the owner before the event! Who Should You Invite? Take some time to map out your neighborhood. Count houses, apartments, condos, and mobile homes. Don’t invite more people than you can accommodate at the location you’ve selected! Invitations and Surveys Create your invitations on your own computer or bring your ideas to the Volunteer Center. Either way, we will make as many copies as you need to distribute in your neighborhood. We suggest a one page flyer. That way, you can include a survey on the back. Your neighbors can complete the survey and bring it to the party! (We have a standard survey available). What is the Purpose of the Survey? Neighbors can choose to share information that includes contact information, skills and talents they are willing to share with neighbors, as well as special needs (ex: elderly neighbors living alone may need assistance with grocery shopping). Thanks to you, residents can be connected and feel safer in the neighborhood! Party Ideas Open Yard Party - Neighbors can simply stop by during the times listed on your invitation to meet one another, share refreshments, drop off their bag toss, to fish, etc. Games are available at Volunteer Center. Pot-Luck Party - Encourage neighbors to bring food to share! You might even have a pie eating contest… or judge a bake off among neighbors. Do Something Party - Paint an elderly neighbor’s house or plant a butterfly garden. Invite everyone near by to participate! Dog Wash - Designate times on your invitations when neighbor can bring their pooch for a shampoo. Remember to have enough space for a hose, lots a soap and water, towels, and treats for your canine neighbors. Ask for donations. Car Wash - Same as above without the fur. Contact Laura Lockwood, ManaTEEN Director at (941) 761-3207 or email Manateens@aol.com for more ideas!