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Involving All Neighbors

An impressive example of a nurturing action is the ‘Involving All Neighbors’ program of the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods. The mission of the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods is to build on Seattle’s strengths by further empowering citizens and improving service to neighborhoods.

‘Involving All Neighbors’ works to strengthen and nurture neighborhoods in Seattle by welcoming and utilizing everyone’s contribution and skills.

‘Involving All Neighbors’ promotes these beliefs:

  • Everyone has a gift to offer and a contribution to make to their neighborhood and the people around them
  • Neighborhoods grow stronger and everyone benefits when people share individual gifts, abilities and talents.
  • Neighborhoods are inclusive and welcoming only when they invite and embrace the unique and diverse contributions of all members.

What is unique about ‘Involving All Neighbors’ is:

  • The recognition by city officials that strong communities and neighborhoods develop when everyone participates
  • The recognition by city officials that the contributions of individuals with disabilities are often missing from neighborhood life
  • The willingness of city officials to consciously connect individuals with disabilities and their families with their neighbors and neighborhood organizations.

Typically such initiatives, if they occur at all, are sponsored and coordinated within the disability sector. ‘Involving All Neighbors’ is different because the program is part of a wide range of programs offered by a generic municipal department. This is an important distinction. It is one thing to be asked to be invited to a birthday party. It is another to be invited without any prompting.

Strategies and stories related to this program have been published in the guidebook, ‘Involving All Neighbors: Building Inclusive Communities in Seattle.’

The following is a quote from the Introduction:

We wanted to show that when neighbors become more neighborly with everyone – with or without disabilities – the natural ties that are created can genuinely eliminate the isolation experienced by so many. We believed that a neighborhood that nurtures and supports everyone in it is simply a better place to live.

Further information on, ‘Involving All Neighbors’ and other programs of the Department of Neighborhoods can be obtained by contacting:

Seattle Department of Neighborhoods
700 3rd Avenue
Arctic Building, Suite 400
Seattle, Washington
98104 –1848, USA

Voice/TDD (206) 684-0464

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