We have an internal motto here at Real Thread: We exist to inspire joy. T-Shirts are simply our medium. Yes, somewhat existential — particularly for a t-shirt company — but when we look at the core of what we do and the experience we seek to provide, joy is at the center of it all.
That being said, we wanted to share a story highlighting a group we work with that does an incredible job of inspiring joy and creating positive change in their community.
In January of this year, Newsweek published an article titled The Big One: Is California Ready For Its Next Major Earthquake? Google the phrase “the big one San Francisco,” and you’ll find a handful of articles just like it, all warning of a major earthquake that is bound to rock Northern California in the near future.
This information can do two things to NoCal residents: Evoke fear, or spark action.
We know an inspirational group of people in the San Francisco area who chose the latter, and are using a trying circumstance to spark positive change and a sense of pride and community in their neighborhoods.
How they do it? They party.
The San Francisco Neighborhood Empowerment Network (NEN) is a group of residents, neighbors, and local merchants, nonprofits, faith-based organizations and academic institutions in the bay area. Their mission: To support residents and neighborhoods with the capacity and resources to build strong resilient communities.
Inspired by stories of communities coming together after tragedies in places like New Orleans, New York City, and Christchurch, New Zealand, this team knows that neighbors who know each other have a distinct advantage in responding to crises.
So in an effort to create stronger bonds in the community, the NEN launched Neighborfest, a series of city-backed block parties designed to bring neighbors together.
“Neighborfest is a San Francisco sponsored event designed to bring neighbors together in a collaborative activity to share food, games, activities, and conversation so that they’re not just a street address to each other,” says Cam Tran, one of the Neighborfest organizers.
Neighborfests have taken the city by storm since then, hosting 10 more block parties in 2016, and a total of 33 in 2017, with plans to add to these numbers this year.
“Our mission for Neighborfest is to bring neighbors together to share in fun activities and to celebrate the wonderful street that we’ve created through tending our garden and trusting each other,” says Cam.
Different games and activities at Neighborfests have included live local bands, games centered around emergency preparedness, and a supposedly legendary performance from an elementary school dance team.
Neighbors are able to support each other’s businesses, too. Craft tables line the streets, selling anything from mosaic stepping stones to succulent planters.
Communities are stronger together. And by providing food, games, and other entertainment, Neighborfest is helping neighbors come together, build connections, and ultimately better their community.
When faced with difficult circumstances, these neighborhoods are choosing to make the better of it, and that feels like something worth sharing.
Stories like this keep us inspired, and we hope this inspires you to create positive change and inspire joy where you are. And if you have a great story, share it! We’d love to hear about what you’re doing to change the world.