ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Forest City leaders are launching a campaign designed to get you talking to your neighbors.
‘Connect Rockford‘ promotes volunteering within the community and when each neighborhood takes part, the city as a whole will improve.
The mayor tells us a connected community was important before COVID-19 began, but it’s even more important after nearly a year of lockdowns.
“I’m pleased to be here as we begin to launch Connect Rockford which is a new initiative for the city of Rockford to help build a more nurturing and thriving community,” said Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara.
Connect Rockford is designed to get neighbors to know each other. The mayor believes there’s been a lack of person-to-person communication across the city-especially since COVID.
“As a city, we’ve been investing so much into the capital infrastructure of our community, we also recognize we need to invest in the human infrastructure in our community and that’s by building relationships,” said Mayor McNamara.
This initiative encourages Rockfordians to volunteer as block captains, who then connect neighbors with each other to improve quality of life in each area of the city.
Since joining as the neighborhood specialist for Rockford two years ago, Barb Chidley noticed that families were not connecting.
“When I’ve talked to various neighbors. They don’t feel like they’ve been heard, they don’t feel like their connected back to the city or their connected to the resources they need and they’re not sure who to call. We realized that it’s so important for everybody to feel like they know who to call when they need help,” explained Chidley.
Mayor McNamara hopes Connect Rockford will emphasize that everyone belongs here, regardless of your background.
“We want everyone to know that they belong here in the city of Rockford and that they can be connected with neighbors. Even if they look like they may have differences than you, or they come from different parts of town, whatever that is, we have a lot more in common we all love Rockford,” the mayor concluded.
In addition to Connect Rockford, the city created a faith leader challenge. It encourages faith leaders and congregations to walk around their neighborhood.