One of these neighborhoods was in Cleveland, Tennessee. It’s a community about an hour outside of Chattanooga. We caught up with Lead Trainer and Consultant Stephen Causby to hear about the process and outcomes of the FNI there.
The FNI Comes to Blythe-Oldfield for the Second Time
Alongside local organization City Fields, we took a deep dive into the Blythe-Oldfield neighborhood for the second time. They had conducted the FNI two years earlier, which Stephen notes is a best practice.
“We run the FNI in our own neighborhood in Atlanta every two years to get a sense of how the neighborhood is changing. Cleveland decided to take the same approach. It was especially strategic because they got a close look at the impact of the pandemic on their neighbors,” Stephen explains.
One of the outcomes they noticed was that scores around a sense of social connectedness and cohesion had gone down. Stephen says this makes sense in the context of Covid-19, when so many people had been shut in their homes without interacting. “Of course that would take a toll on relationships of trust that neighbors rely on,” he says.
Once this change was apparent, neighbors and organizational leaders in Cleveland came up with a plan to remedy the issue. They began to create strategies for rebuilding bonds of trust. In the end, it looked like an entire series of neighborhood events just to get neighbors out and about, laughing and making memories together.
Stephen laughs, “They’re doing everything from a lawnmower race to outdoor events and an entire series of cookouts.”
This is what the FNI can do at its best: pinpoint the strengths and opportunities in your neighborhood, guiding where you should focus your collaborations with neighbors. Even better, the very process of the FNI fosters the trust and momentum for making change. Neighbors go door to door and connect with other neighbors. They talk through their hopes and dreams for their neighborhood. Then, neighbors get to see the results and decide how to make those dreams come true.