Neighboring Podcast
Finding a Friend - Mrs Kolde and Mary

Finding a Friend - Mrs Kolde and Mary

March 14, 2019

This! This Story! This is one of my greatest hopes for those that volunteer at NeighborLink and for those asking for help. Authentic connections between individuals that move from a transactional experience towards a relational one. That’s it. Where it goes or how long it lasts is not as big of a deal as the fact that it has the opportunity to happen. We simply want neighbors to connect and get to know one another to form a mutually beneficial connection.

 

Mary chose to get involved at NeighborLink, looked through the projects with help of her friend and NL staff member, Lyndsy, chose a project, and happened to connect to Mrs Kolde, who needed some housekeeping help. Mary says in the podcast that the first time helping Mrs Kolde lasted for several hours as she cleaned and Mrs Kolde shared parts of her story. That conversation has led to dozens of mutually engaging connections since. Mrs Kolde is as interested in getting to know Mary as Mary is Mrs Kolde. They share a love for beautiful environments, telling descriptive stories, experiencing the world around them, and helping others. Mrs Kolde has a long history of being active in her neighborhood, various organizations, and she still shovels snow as far as she can in either direction of her home as she physically can at over 80 years old. Mary certainly helps Mrs Kolde with some tangible needs like housekeeping, but I’m sure Mary would share how Mrs Kolde helps her with her things as well.

 

I can’t urge you to listen to this podcast enough. We have dozens of other stories of how volunteerism has led to relationships like this one. Not all relationships last, nor should they, but they should be attempted. Any connection works like any other relational connection. Life happens for both parties involved, the relationship gets disrupted, or becomes out of balance. However, what’s important from this story to me is how open Mary was to intentionally connecting with the person she set out to help. Mary was certainly going to get to know the person she was going to help while she served. It just happened in this case that Mrs Kolde met her with similar enthusiasm. In the brief hour we spent together, it was remarkable how kindred their spirits seemed to be from what I could pick up on. Is this relationship perfect, not sure, but I suspect that it’s as perfect as any friendship is or could be. They all take work and a mutual desire to work out. But, it’s exciting to me to see happen. This kind of connection gives us energy at NL because it’s bringing life to both people.

 

One last thing that I loved about this story is the connection between Lyndsy and Mary. Mary and Lynsdy share about it in the podcast, and I think it’s also an important part. Mary talks about seeing the energy Lyndsy gets from being a part of helping others through their ongoing conversations as being a motivator for choosing to volunteer at NeighborLink. It was a reminder for me to be aware of what’s getting my friends attention and what’s bringing them joy. Maybe the way to find joy in my life is by joining them in what’s bringing their joy. Maybe you could take that lesson as well and invite yourself to join your friends in their efforts as a pathway to finding your own way.

 

There are far too many interesting people that we get the privilege to meet at NeighborLink. I wouldn’t have imagined meeting someone like Mrs Kolde any other way nor Mary. Both incredible women living ordinary lives with great intention to be the best neighbor they can be. Your neighbors are incredible, get to know them any way you can.

Tim Hallman - Connector, Pastor, Friend

Tim Hallman - Connector, Pastor, Friend

March 7, 2019

CONNECTOR, FRIEND, PASTOR

I’ve had more conversations with Tim Hallman on the role of the “Church” or Christians in neighborhood and community development than I think anyone else (besides my wife). These aren’t depressing, negative, no-hope kind of conversations that are all too easy to slip into when you’re talking about things you feel like you’re not making much ground on. They’re the hopeful, strategic, affirming kind of conversations that always end up with us seeing something new in our work that leaves us encouraged and optimistic that we’re making progress.

This is a testament to Tim’s character and his love for others. He doesn’t let us stay where we’re at and reminds us that God is already at work and we’re just trying to find out where, and join Him. What I appreciate the most about Tim’s is his humble acknowledgement that this is his journey just as much as it is anyone else’s. So, Tim and I have been on a shared journey for the past decade as we do our best to help be connectors of people for the sake of loving each other through interdependent relationships that teach us about God’s love for us. Usually that means we’re serving, repairing, talking, and anything else that requires us to actively participate in making things new or better.

Tim pastored Anchor Community Church for almost 20 years before becoming the Christian Emphasis Director at the YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne. Anchor is a small congregation in the heart of a downtown Fort Wayne collar neighborhood that has been on the cusp of either slipping deeper in poverty or rising into an upper middle class neighborhood for a long time. Tim’s vision was to create a church that was more of a reflection of the neighborhood rather than a place that is primarily made up of people that commute in and out. As that began to take place, it started to get uncomfortable for many as transformation often does, and the church began to change as did everyone in it. During Tim’s time at Anchor, it made significant strides to be a diverse community of believers and become the reflection of the neighborhood that he desired. Tim shares more about his experiences with this shift in the podcast.

Tim responded to the Lord’s calling a few years ago to pursue a new career and allow him to go deeper into this realm of being the connector, pastor, friend that we all need and to help lead this loving our neighbor journey. Tim is now at the YMCA, leading the staff in spiritual development initiatives as well as being tasked with the monumental and really exciting effort of being the connector between YMCA members and the community. With over 40,000 members in the greater Fort Wayne area, the potential impact of more aware, engaged, and developing “neighbors” on the communities they live in is endless. Tim is organizing all kinds of service opportunities for YMCA members with the goals of increasing volunteerism, personal and spiritual development, and greater relational connectivity between members. We talk at length about this new role and the opportunities that exist here.

Tim and I could talk for hours and I hope we can do another podcast together. There are so many questions and areas of local church missionality that we could cover and process together. The types of conversations Tim and I are having, we know others are having as well. If we want to be good neighbors for the sake of becoming better neighbors, then we need to keep having these kinds of conversations that take the emphasis off of “fixing things” and on just being present and open.

Slingin’ Sunshine with Katie Jo

Slingin’ Sunshine with Katie Jo

February 28, 2019

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I don’t remember the specifics of first time I met Katie Jo, but I “remember” the first time I met Katie Jo. You remember those first meeting moments when you meet someone like Katie who beams with energy, enthusiasm, warmth, and a spirit that wants to connect with whoever is right in front of them. I first met Katie at the window of a food truck like so many others in Fort Wayne, and was greeted with most genuine and proper greeting that care more about how I was doing that particular day than what hot dogs I wanted.

The service industry requires engagement to be comfortable and successful, but there is a difference between being nice or having a friendly demeanor and being interested in your customers. I’m sure Katie had her “customers,” but she was more interested in connecting with her “people,” whether that was someone she was meeting for the first time or the person coming back for the third time that week. Katie gives everyone the opportunity to be seen and valued if they want it. We as customers get to choose how we’re going to engage with those desiring to serve us as well, and if we’re as interested in getting to know those that serve us, we’ll find that we are surrounded by incredible people.

What I love about Katie the most is that this isn’t just a “strategy” to be successful in the service industry, it is is an all-in attitude that she has to choose every day like anyone else when it comes to owning our best selves and creating the environment in our world that we desperately want to see be the norm. Katie is no doubt wired to be more outgoing or engaging than others and much of her efforts are an outflow of who she is, but is a direct result of deep intentionality to work on herself so that what comes out is received as an expression of love and grace for others. I love seeing Katie’s energy be received by so many. We all need to be “seen” daily by others, even if we’re strangers. Katie does that for others and it’s making a difference. Such a difference that she’s developer own manta or brand if you will, called “Slinging Sunshine.”

In this episode of Neighboring, we talk to Katie about her journey to where she’s at, where Slinging Sunshine came from, and why it matters. In addition, we talk about the realities that no one is always on or perfect with our efforts, and how important it is to be authentic and surround yourselves off-line with personal relationships to recharge life with.

 

Katie inspires me to spread more sunshine in my own life with those around me. As much as I need to be seen by people like the way Katie does, I need to do that as well and I’m doing my best to do lean into that area of personal development. If you know Katie or have been impacted by her sunshine, consider sending her a note via social media. Let’s show some love the other way.

Episode 14: Season 2 Intro & Staff Introductions

Episode 14: Season 2 Intro & Staff Introductions

February 21, 2019

Season 1 of Neighboring was a such a thrill that we’ve decided to keep this podcast going and come back for a 2nd Season. Our goal is to pick up where season 1 left off by continuing to ask interesting guests what it means to be a good neighbor in their context. In addition to asking individuals what it means to be good neighbors, we’re going to be asking others what makes a healthy neighborhood, healthy, which is a question we’re asking more and more as a team at NeighborLink.

We’re in the business of helping individuals sort out what it means to be a good neighbor as well as supporting neighborhood leaders’ efforts of neighborhood development. One of the key parts of making that happen is sharing information with one another and making connections to outside resources, which this podcast hopes to do as we broadcast personal experiences with a greater audience with the hopes that ideas connect. Good neighbors share, right?

Finally, Season 2 will bring episodes where our staff sits around the table talking about our work more in-depth, and how we’re wrestling with the challenges of serving vulnerable homeowners or how we’re overcoming them as a team. We hope these conversations help encourage or empower our community to overcome some of the barriers they’re facing in their attempts to love neighbors through service.

We do just that in Episode 14. We begin the episode giving a more in-depth overview of what NeighborLink does as an organization and transition to a round table discussion with just a few of our staff members who introduce themselves as well as share about what it means to be a good neighbor from their perspective. I hope you’ll tune in to meet some of the new NeighborLink staff members (we’ve added 6 new people in past year!) and hear what is getting their attention.

We’ll launch a new episode every Thursday through the summer or beyond.

Episode 13: Jenn Nickell

Episode 13: Jenn Nickell

September 6, 2018

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Jenn Nickell, the new principal at Lindley Academy, avoided the teacher life for several years, pursuing a degree and career in acting instead. But 11 years ago, she started substitute teaching and thus began her career in the school system. She’s found that inside the walls of a school lives a microcosmic neighborhood. She would argue even that kids understand what it means to be a good neighbor in a much better way, with much higher emotional intelligence than we as adults give them credit for. As an educator, Jenn pulls us into what it looks like to be a neighbor inside a school.

Link to Jenn's Video and Andrew's written reflections from the interview.


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Episode 12: Tiffany Gardner

Episode 12: Tiffany Gardner

August 31, 2018

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Tiffany Gardner has worked at Ambassador Enterprises for 4 years as leader of Community Engagement, in which she manages several programs at that inspire and create opportunity for the team to be involved in the community. At Ambassador Enterprises (AE), she is part of a business that seeks to connect and engage with not only the nonprofits they support, but also seek to connect and engage with the community to impact the systemic needs that those nonprofits seek to solve. 

Tiffany and her team believe in the “mutual value exchange” which is a mentality that we as individuals can put into practice in our own lives. It’s the idea that we can learn from each other, we mutually have something valuable we can exchange to each other.


"Neighboring" is now available on iTunes - Click Here to Subscribe

Consider subscribing, sharing, and give us a rating if you appreciate the content and want us to keep creating.

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Episode 11: Palermo Galindo

Episode 11: Palermo Galindo

August 23, 2018

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Palermo Galindo works for the City of Fort Wayne and has been a resident here for over 25 years. I’m sure it’d be easy to get jaded, seeing neighborhood after neighborhood, each with its own set of needs. Some of us might tend to get overwhelmed with all that needs fixed and changed in the city. But Palermo has kept his tender heart for the city and its neighborhoods and the people in them. 

Palermo has such a unique perspective of Fort Wayne and gets to see and interact with a much broader spectrum of neighboring, as he is the liaison between the Mayor’s office and the people by connecting neighborhoods to the resources they need for development or improvement. And he takes this role very seriously, a servant leader to the people to create a culture in Fort Wayne that is more than just a city, but a place of refuge and safety – one big community.

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Link to Palermo's Video and Andrew's written reflections from the interview.

Episode 10: Joe Johns

Episode 10: Joe Johns

August 16, 2018

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For the past 18 years, Joe Johns has been on staff at Fellowship Missionary Church and now serves as Senior Pastor. Since the church first planted their roots in 1982 on the edge of the Southeast quadrant in a cornfield, the culture and dynamic of the southside has transformed and shifted significantly as business and industries that once made the Southeast side flourish disappeared and left that part of the city in the shadows. As Fellowship watched the composition of the neighborhoods around them change, they began to realize that as a church, they needed to reflect their neighborhood. That the people represented inside their walls would be a representation of where they are in the city.

As an evangelical pastor, Joe gives us some context on the biblical roots of what it means to be a good neighbor, the challenges and opportunity that come with that, and the role of grace and forgiveness when it comes to being a good neighbor. 

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Link to Joe's Video and Andrew's written reflections from the interview. 

Episode 9: Ewelina Connolly

Episode 9: Ewelina Connolly

August 9, 2018

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20 years ago, Ewelina Connolly immigrated to America from Poland on a quest to find independence from an inter-dependent culture. Ewelina shares what it was like growing up in a collectivist culture and the transition to our American, independent culture. Ewelina is currently the Clinical Director at Amani Family Services - a social service agency that provides resources like counseling or therapy for refugee and immigrant families and helps them assimilate into American life.

Ewelina shares some universal truths about being a good neighbor no matter what country you're from or where you live today. We all have much to gain from diverse, multi-cultural relationships. She reminds us that all relationships are different and must be established through one-on-one interactions.

Link to Ewelina's Video and Andrew's written reflections from the interview. 


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Episode 8: Zachary Benedict

Episode 8: Zachary Benedict

August 2, 2018

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Zachary Benedict from MKM Architecture takes us on a fascinating, informative dive into how architectural shifts over the last several decades has impacted how we as a society neighbor. Zach and I were introduced not long after I started working at NeighborLink in 2008, and he has been blowing my mind with the ideas in this interview and dozens more ever since.

Zach talks about the core of what has shaped our neighborhoods when he talks about the American Dream. America is so fixated on independence and autonomy, and what Zach labels the “glorification of privacy.” There has become an assumed correlation between how independent you are and how well off you are. The more independent/private things you build your life around, the more successful or well off you are. Such as attached garages, no porch, privacy fence, private office, private gym, private school, or the private theatre. Even the switch from police patrolling on horseback to squad cars impacted how connected or safe neighborhoods were along with the public perception of police officers. These are all things that begin to limit the interactions, whether intentional or accidental, that we have with those around us. It creates physical barriers to those around us, giving us justified and comfortable excuses to not build relationships with others. 

Link to Zachary's Video and Andrew's written reflections from the interview. 


"Neighboring" is now available on iTunes - Click Here to Subscribe

Consider subscribing, sharing, and give us a rating if you appreciate the content and want us to keep creating.

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