I wrote this review while participating in a campaign for Mom Central Consulting on behalf of State Farm and I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.
When my husband and I began searching for our first home, we had a typical list of "wants," things like a dishwasher (who wants to hand wash everything?) and an attached garage (walk outside in the winter in Wisconsin? No, thanks).
However, one aspect that ranked up there just as highly was the neighborhood. If we were going to move into a home, spend years there, watch our children grow up there, and basically invest our lives in this structure, it needed to be a part of a community.
Somewhere within walking distance to parks, close to good schools, and filled with neighbors that would give a friendly wave when they drove by. Is that too much to ask?
After all of the time and effort put in to find our perfect house in that perfect community, is there any wonder that I feel strongly that every aspect of said community thrives and remains beautiful? No one wants to see a deserted playground, signs covered in graffiti or an abandoned warehouse nearby, but what steps can we take to help make a difference and improve our neighborhoods?
Fortunately, State Farm Neighborhood Assist, a youth-led philanthropic program, is here to empower communities to identify issues right in their neighborhood.
Entering its second year of community betterment, the State Farm Neighborhood Assist program seeks to improve communities through three types of initiatives: community development, education and safety.
Communities all across the United States and Canada answered the call to submit causes that would make a positive impact in their neighborhood, and, after weeks of consideration, the State Farm Youth Advisory Board reviewed the 3,000 submissions and compiled the top 200 causes to have the chance to win a $25,000 grant to fund their program.
Once the Youth Advisory Board selected the top 200, the program connected each cause with a local nonprofit that can help solve the problem. At the same time, the public will vote to select the top 40 winners who will bring the prize money home to their community. See a full overview in here:
One of last year's winners (pictured below) was the very small town of Straughn, Indiana, who came together to let the country know why they wanted to better their town.
They didn't let having a population of only 300 stop them from sharing their story and inspiring the entire country to vote for them to win!
This year 46 states and Canadian provinces have causes in the top 200 and each of them have until April 22nd to rally for votes in their community, with anyone voting on Facebook allowed up to 10 votes per day for any combination of causes.
On April 29, the top 40 vote-receiving causes will be announced on the Facebook app and a $25,000 grant will be awarded to the affiliated nonprofits.
"The beauty of State Farm Neighborhood Assist is that it places decision-making power directly in the hands of the public," said Mary Crego, State Farm Senior Vice President. "We hope the 2013 program is able to increase last year's widespread positive impact on U.S. and Canadian communities."
With so many wonderful causes to choose from, the most difficult part is deciding where to place your 10 votes each day!
From helping the homeless to supporting our veterans to putting books in the hands of underprivileged children to many, many more, I love seeing all of the hopes and dreams across our country and ways that we can come together to improve.
Whether you participate in community betterment projects in your own community, know of particular areas that you would like to see improved, or simply like the idea of ensuring that we can all enjoy and appreciate our hometowns, head over to the State Farm Neighborhood Assist program and show your support for all of these amazing causes today!