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More Than Just a Cup of Sugar: Neighborlink

Featured, Social GoodSarah Bayard
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Since 2003, the Fort Wayne community has been lending a helping hand via NeighborLink (NL). NeighborLink is a faith based, nonprofit for volunteers in Fort Wayne to provide help to those in need. NeighborLink currently has affiliates in Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, DeKalb, Porter, Van Wert, and Greater Portland. Ranging from raking leaves to repairing a roof to painting living rooms, the possibilities are endless. Volunteers are able to sign up online for the project of their choice by looking at the projects map. The projects map shows all of the different projects that are in need of volunteers in the Fort Wayne area.

On the other side, those who need help with a project can post their project to NeighborLink where coaches will further evaluate, construct, and select projects. Andrew Hoffman, Executive Director of NeighborLink Fort Wayne, says in his personal blog that, “It’s about relationships, not projects,” which really exemplifies the foundation of NeighborLink. Hoffman continues with, "I believe the Fort Wayne community should get more involved because the solutions to our cities problems are within each and every one of us. I don’t believe you can solve our communities problems without a strong grassroots efforts made by connected neighbors."

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Another way the volunteers of NeighborLink connect with one another and the city, is with Team NeighborLink. Team NeighborLink hosts athletic events that raise awareness and money for NeighborLink Fort Wayne. One of these events is The Great 80, which is an 80 mile bike riding event that starts and finishes up at Joseph Decuis Farm. This year will be their third annual event and whether you're racing or just biking for fun, there is a place for everyone.

Biking not your thing? Team NeighborLink also hosts Night Moves to help raise awareness and money for NeighborLink projects (the goal for 2015 is $10,000 — you can make a (tax-deductible) donation here). Night Moves is a 2.5 - 4 mile run/race in downtown Fort Wayne. The event begins at 10 pm and there are four different dates that the event is being held: June 12th, June 26th, July 3rd, and July 17th.

Don't forget to visit the Team Neighborlink website to get decked out in NeighborLink apparel (100% of the proceeds to go NeighborLink Fort Wayne).

Team Neighborlink
Team Neighborlink
A photo by @Alec_Johns

A photo by @Alec_Johns

Andrew Hoffman, NeighborLink Executive Director 

Andrew Hoffman, NeighborLink Executive Director 

It is all about getting out into the community and helping those in need — whether it be the elderly, disabled, or someone simply needing some assistance. Since its genesis, over 3,000 projects have been completed and just this year, 271 projects have been completed so far with 255 still available.

"The effect on the FW community is multi-faceted, but ultimately leads to neighbors knowing their neighbors. Technically, NL volunteers solve hundreds of issues facing our community’s vulnerable and low-income neighbors that if gone unmet, would lead to decreased home values which impact neighborhoods. These issues could ultimately become the responsibility of our City should that homeowner loose the home due to not being able to satisfy their Code Violations and the fines associated," Hoffman states.

So, let’s roll our sleeves up and help out our neighbors, because at the end of the day, they might need a little more than just a cup of sugar.

NeighborLink volunteers on location

NeighborLink volunteers on location

(Photos courtesy of Andrew Hoffman, if not otherwise stated.)

Intruiged? Check out our first post (with videos) on NeighborLink, back in 2012:

Raise the Roof: NeighborLink Fort Wayne