Williamsburg, VA (PressExposure) July 01, 2009 -- It all started three years ago when Joan Bender, a retired nurse from Washington D.C. moved with her husband to Lennar's active adult community, Colonial Heritage in Williamsburg, Virginia.
Bender appreciated Colonial Heritage's resort-style environment and activity calendar but recognized the need to develop a program that would unite the community together in service, a program that would help those in need, a program called Neighbor To Neighbor.
With Lennar's support, Bender created the Neighbor To Neighbor Program to help promote community spirit in Colonial Heritage. The main aspect of the resident driven initiative is to act as a support system to those who may be going through a difficult time, as well as connecting neighbors on a social level.
" The mission of our Neighbor To Neighbor Program is to create a caring community within Colonial Heritage by providing an opportunity for neighbors to reach out to neighbors in a helpful capacity and realize the full potential for contributing to a quality community," Bender said.
The program, which started off with only a handful of volunteers now has hundreds of community participants.
"When the Neighbor to Neighbor Program began in Colonial Heritage, the initial direction was to establish "Blocks" within the community. This was done to create a sense of small neighborhoods," Bender said. The program now has 60 Block Captains and Co-Captains who are responsible for the "happenings" within their respective neighborhoods. "The Block Captains and Co-Captains are the back bone of the Neighbor To Neighbor Program," Bender said. "Many blocks hold social events like potluck dinners, women's luncheons, block parties and clubhouse happy hours. But not all gatherings are social in nature. Block Captains and Co-Captains are put in place to be the first response especially in the event of joyful news like a milestone or anniversary or sorrowful events like illness and death. Block Captains and Co-Captains initiate telephone chains and group e-mails that can keep neighbors informed."
Since the Neighbor To Neighbor Program's inception in 2007, it has been recognized by The Senior Services Coalition and The Center for Excellence in Aging and Geriatric Health as a successful "care" model that may be implemented in other communities throughout Williamsburg and surrounding areas. Also, the program's founder, Joan Bender received the Robert L. Moore Community Patriot Award Honorable Mention for her work on the Neighbor To Neighbor Program. James City County Neighborhood Connections presented this honor.
"Participation in the Neighbor To Neighbor Program makes Colonial Heritage residents feel like they are a part of something special and that they really do make a difference in each others lives. The fact that so many people are proud to live in Colonial Heritage speaks volumes of the community," Bender said.
For more information on Colonial Heritage call: 866-351-4488 or visit www. Lennar.com