A strong neighborhood is a place where parents feel comfortable letting their kids play outside, where families can rely on one another, and where you know your neighbor’s name. A strong neighborhood means a healthy community of individuals you trust, and who trust you.
Walla Walla’s Neighborhood Engagement Program (NEP) encourages groups of Walla Walla residents to come together and actively partner in improving their community. It does so by providing an opportunity for people from all neighborhoods and backgrounds to work together to plan and participate in programs that will contribute to the well-being of the street, block, or area in which they live.
The NEP is dedicated to cultivating stronger neighborhood relationships and community resilience in historically neglected, marginalized, and disempowered areas of Walla Walla. These relationships have been shown to improve disaster preparedness, mental health, and life expectancy. When people are part of a strong neighborhood, they lead safer, healthier, and happier lives.
The aim of this program is to support neighbors in organizing around a goal they choose, and engage in the collective action necessary to make it happen.
To realize these goals, the Neighborhood Engagement Program partners directly with members of the community in order to address issues and ideas that residents themselves have identified as applicable and needed in their neighborhood.
The Coordinator of this program will then work with these neighborhood representatives to craft strategies for achieving the goals the neighbors have collectively identified and develop the resources needed for such strategies to be successful.
How Can the City Help You?
The City of Walla Walla supports neighborhoods by providing resources and guidance for community-led events and projects. To help neighbors organize and get engaged, the City can:
- Provide a gathering space or meeting room
- Offer coaching for how to run a successful meeting
- Help publicize and promote your neighborhood project or activity with free printing services and graphic design help
- Offer small matching grants to help offset program costs
- Help you go out and knock on doors in your neighborhood to spread awareness about an issue or idea
- Help you navigate other resources that already exist elsewhere
There are a variety of different ways to engage with your neighbors and build community. Some examples include: a neighborhood block party; a community clean-up project; a neighborhood garden or tree-planting program; a neighborhood newsletter; an issue-oriented workshop; or a graffiti removal project. For more ideas, visit our Neighborhood Program Ideas sheet.
*NEP During COVID-19*
The Neighborhood Engagement Program is dedicated to building community health and resilience, and helping communities support those residents most in need. To ensure the health and safety of our neighborhood partners during the current COVID-19 outbreak, NEP is postponing all in-person events indefinitely and focusing on helping communities design ways to support their neighbors. As this pandemic causes all of us to recognize our increasing dependence on one another, community connection has never been more important.
Go to the City of Walla Walla’s COVID-19 page for a list of resources and programs in Walla Walla that provide assistance for a variety of needs during this time.
Sound interesting? Simply identify an area in your neighborhood — from just a few houses to the whole block, or more — and you can be a self-starting Neighborhood Liaison! For more information or assistance, contact Cameron Conner at Cconner@wallawallawa.gov and check out our Neighborhood Toolbox at right to get started!