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In “Around the Block: Telling the Stories of people who Impact and are Impacted by NeighborLink Fort Wayne,” we seek to tell 1-2 stories a week of a recipient, volunteer or event in an effort to motivate and mobilize more volunteers to do more projects, serve more people, make more meaningful connections, and create a stronger, healthier community fabric. We’ve already done over 12, you can see them here.

The purpose of this project is to demystify service by bridging the gap that so often keeps those with resources from connecting to those who need a little bit of help for one reason or another. As a community development organization that connects neighbors with each other and facilitates service projects, we have found that when we connect the right coach to a project, and tell the story that goes alongside, that project is completed or funded 100% of the time. Both of those things being true, this is an area we cannot ignore in our effort to connect neighbors.


Content takes resources. In order to tell these stories in the most compelling manner (and do justice to the subject matter), we must be dedicated to it. This means making the project sustainable by investing in the right equipment and personnel. But we also have to be good stewards of our resources, and we know that by hiring someone to do this on a consistent basis instead of outsourcing to production companies, we have the potential to save hundreds of thousands of dollars (yes, you read that right) over the course of a year. Another way to look at it is that we can get the equivalent of 10 videos for the price of 1. It’s a no-brainer.


In an ideal world, we'd love it if all our stories came from the volunteers taking their own photos, videos, and writing their own posts, but it doesn't work that way. So, we believe it's our responsibility to do that first as an organization with the hopes that we add the value of storytelling to our online community's culture. By leading the way, we hope the snowball gains momentum down the hill. This summer we created 13 videos to pilot the idea, and learned one thing: we need to keep going. NeighborLink volunteers self-selected and completed over 700 projects last year, and 600 (and counting) so far this year. Each of these interactions is important, and telling you about only 13 doesn’t do justice to the change and transformation that is happening in our community through them.

We believe that digital storytelling is the perfect way to communicate these stories in a meaningful way to our ever-expanding volunteer base. This is a vital element in fulfilling our mission of practical, neighbor to neighbor expressions of God’s love. If the neighbors are never introduced, nothing happens.

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