The Rapidian

Intentional living in the context of your neighborhood

Courtney Myers-Keaton, Eastown resident and community association volunteer shares what it means to be part of a neighborhood.
Neighbors gather around raised bed gardens

Neighbors gather around raised bed gardens /Lindsey Ruffin

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Picnic in the Park

Saturday May 17

Sigsbee Park

Park cleanup 9-11 a.m.

Picnic 12-3 p.m.

Community raised bed gardens

Community raised bed gardens /Lindsey Ruffin

Community raised bed gardens

Community raised bed gardens /Lindsey Ruffin

Written by Courtney Myers-Keaton
The Eastown Community Association (ECA) encourages neighbors to intentionally connect through its programs and events. Last year, the ECA constructed raised garden beds with the purpose of renting them out to community members. This garden has given residents the ability to not only grow plants but to grow relationships by getting to know one another through the day-to-day activities that go along with gardening. People are finding common ground with others they never would have even met before. This simple act of cultivating food in close proximity to others creates a bond that would be missed if one chose to merely use their own backyard. 

The garden additionally brings volunteers together a couple times a year for landscaping and a garden walk. 

Another event that brings everyone together is the Annual Picnic. Each year dozens of volunteers join in to spruce up the parks in the Eastown neighborhood. After the park clean-up, families come out to enjoy food, music, games, and company. There is something for everyone. This is another example of neighbors intentionally gathering. Watching neighbors come out of hibernation to greet each other after a long winter and seeing new friendships form each year is one of my favorite parts of living in this urban setting in my opinion. 

The Eastown Community Association works as a great catalyst for intentional living in our neighborhood through its initiatives and events. Intentional living refers to every action taken being done with purpose, a conscious intent, and fulfilling core values through those actions. When I chose to live in Eastown, I chose it with purpose and a commitment to raising a family in close quarters with others and also with the knowledge that I would have the opportunity to extend my family to my neighbors. 

I sometimes ponder if I could move outside of the invisible walls of the village my neighbors and I have constructed. I wonder if I could exchange that village for what some claim we are missing out on: bigger backyards, neighbors further apart and less noise. But then I would miss out on walks to the local park where everyone seems to gather as soon as the sun starts to shine; children running in, out and between houses on the street; open doors with open invitations and community bonds. 

I moved into Eastown with the intention of becoming a part of a close-knit community and with the hopes that this community would become like a family. I volunteer with the community association because it brings me closer to that purpose. I become friends with my neighbors and get to know them deeper than a superficial level. It provides nourishment for my soul. We all have our own way of connecting. For some it may be reaching out during hard times and for others it may random acts of kindness shown by mowing the neighbor’s lawn. 

Whether by simply gathering together on front porches with a glass of wine in hand, participating in the events that are organized by the ECA or coming together as a community unit when a neighbor’s house catches on fire, each person here intentionally chooses to connect with each other in one form or another. When a person chooses to live in Eastown, they aren’t just buying a house. They are buying into a community.

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