Seattleites cherish living in a city of neighborhoods. Each pocket offers a unique life style and connection to our community. Neighbors passionately organize to cultivate and maintain a keen sense of place. By doing so our neighborhoods give meaning to the word home.
An integral component of a neighborhood’s unique sense of place is its ability to inspire delight. Delight can come from the ease of accessibility to high quality dining, groceries, schools, parks, gardens, community centers or even vistas. Delight can be derived from a chance meeting or conversation with neighbors at a local coffee shop or bookstore. A connected and cared for community cultivates a neighborhood’s propensity to inspire delight.
In an age where households are strapped with ever more financial burdens, for many, time is short at hand. Every one of us who loves our neighborhood wishes we could give more to it, but often can’t prioritize that over other pressing concerns. In this moment I look to our elder generations as hidden gems that can tie our community together. It is our gradually silvering population of baby boomers and beyond that we must strive to keep invested in our communities. These are the neighbors with a bit more time, experience and inherent patience to dedicate to our places. These are the neighbors that know what it was like before the world got so connected and rushed. They have the steady hands to shape our open spaces and keep our community cared for and vibrant. They are a resource we must never undervalue.
Exploring avenues to grow the engagement of our silvery stateswomen and men should be high on every neighborhood’s agenda. Developing programs that assist our elders with aging in place is critical to keeping them connected and supported. Take a look at the PNA Village program, sign up to volunteer or become a member. If you’re not close to the retirement age, stay connected to your neighbors who are. If you were born before Kennedy was President, don’t forget your neighborhood, it needs your wisdom and any help you can give.
David R. Wellington
Foster School of Business, Class of 2012