MODESTO — Friday is Love Our Neighborhoods Night, a time to hold a block party, have a movie night in the driveway, deliver cookies or fire up the barbecue in the front yard.
It's a program sparked by the Love Modesto folks, the first of what they hope will become an annual occurrence.
"We just decided that a Friday night is a great night for most people to meet your neighbors and have fun and get involved," said Jeff Pishney, founder of Love Modesto.
Pishney said his group met with Modesto officials last year to find out what else the group could do to improve the community besides its biannual volunteer projects.
"City leaders all agree that if we can inspire neighbors to know each other, this will lead to safe and thriving neighborhoods, which can help lower our crime, help underperforming schools and students, increase public health, increase city pride and morale, etc.," Pishney said.
The officials suggested that having a neighborhood initiative similar to National Night Out, which is held the first Tuesday in August, would be best, he added. Unlike the Love Modesto program, there are no suggested time frame or official signups for the event, although 100 homes have been registered to hold neighborhood functions.
"Much like Love Modesto, our desire is that this would just be the catalyst for year-round involvement with our neighbors," Pishney said.
There is a website www.loveourneighborhoods.com with suggestions for the night, along with resources to help promote neighborly relationships.
According to the website, "Love Our Neighborhoods is about inspiring, encouraging and resourcing relationship-building efforts within our area neighborhoods. Our hope is that the people who are a part of this movement will move from strangers to acquaintances, then from acquaintances to relationships with the people who live closest to them."
Bee staff writer Sue Nowicki can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2012.