50% of Americans say they don’t trust their neighbors and, even though social connection helps people live much richer lives, one in four people don’t have someone to share their personal troubles and triumphs with. Offerup, a peer-to peer marketplace that depends on trust, partnered with enso to strengthen this core element of society in communities where their members live.
Together, we realized that rebuildling trust at scale begins with face-to-face interactions between people. The best way to combat social isolation is to bring neighbors together in small groups for conversations.
We launched NeighborUp: a first-of-its-kind program bringing together a coalition of community builders (including the City of LA and the Neighborhood Council) for a series of neighbor-led dinners across Los Angeles. Everyone from homeless advocates to real-estate developers to members of faith-based groups pulled up to the same table for shared meals and conversation around the issue of restoring trust in their communities. To facilitate these gatherings, we created detailed guidelines on Neighborup.net that helped hosts lead conversations that built bridges across lines of difference.
Over the course of a series of dinners in the Downtown LA, South LA and Melrose neighborhoods, attendees took the conversation to some rich and unexpected places — the importance of removing labels, the ways to stay optimistic and nourished in the face of big challenges, and the overwhelming power of love. And we helped people across disparate parts of neighborhoods come together.
NeighborUp will ultimately be scaled to cities across the country and will expand the program to other opportunities for one-to-one neighborhood connections.
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