Neighbor Night September 2013: The First Q Mixer At Cascade Village, Akron OH
“This Q Mixer was probably maybe- just about definitely - the best event I’ve ever been a part of at Cascade Village.” Joshua Moraghan, Cascade Village Senior Property Manager
Staff and residents of Cascade Village came together to plan, do outreach for and execute the first Q Mixer at the property on Thursday, September 19th 2013. It was called Neighbor Night, and it was attended by 42 residents. Prior efforts to attract residents to a “mixer” proved difficult with only a 3 residents attending the last one.
Preparation: 1 day prior to the Mixer, the staff and several residents participated in a 2 hour “training and run through’ which included a walk-through of the entire flow and role playing by those with facilitator or activity leads.
Said CL Director Jessica Russell…”I would say that it was so successful because the entire team was excited about the event. They saw how productive the mixer could be and really became invested in making it so. Also, I think having the couple residents involved in the training with the staff made them more invested in the event and I noticed they all did some of their own outreach.”
Neighbor Night at Cascade Village followed the flow of the typical Q Mixer.
Outreach: Two weeks prior to Neighbor Night, all residents received a post card invitation. Then, the evening prior to the mixer – September 18th - teams of PM and CL staff and 1 resident went door-to-door with invitation cards. The teams were able to knock on every door in the property in about 2 hours and we estimate that we had approximately 70 face to face conversations. We estimate that the “door-knocking/invitation” technique was responsible for 50% of the turnout on the 19th! It was important that we not just do a ‘literature drop.’ Of course many weren’t home and some didn’t answer the door. But of the 70+ face-to-face connects there was only 2-3 who we would characterize as “no’s”. Almost all the rest were pleasant contacts and most were productive ‘touches’ in one way or another. Both CL and PM staff testified that they were pleasantly surprised at how appreciative many residents were that staff came to their door.
The Event: 42 Residents attended and both CL and PM staff attended and participated. At least 7 residents and 5 staff – both PM and CL – had active roles as “hosts” at Neighbor Night which included both leading activities, hosting the sign up table, hosting a Cascade Conversation table and decorations and food.
People Bingo was a big hit. Most everyone participated. One resident filled the entire card and was recognized by Senior Property Manager Josh Moraghan and received a Cascade Village Umbrella. There was a funny moment when the winner explained that his wife – sitting beside him – asked him to bring the umbrella when they left their apartment last night and he forgot, and was worried about what would happen if it started raining later that night. He said that god answered his prayers for an Umbrella!
New and Good was also a big hit. Just about everyone participated and there was lots of good news in the house!
There were 4 Cascade Conversations. One Hosted by a resident to talk about organizing a sewing a crafts circle. (Left) Another was hosted by a visiting Grad Student from Case Western to talk about how to encourage and support women who have micro business ideas. (Right) And a 3rd Hosted by two men from the City of Akron to talk about a major new infrastructure project to separate sewer and storm water systems…the construction of which is likely to cause some disruption for CV residents. (Below) A fourth circle was held outside on the Patio and hosted by CL staff to talk about initiating new exercise or physical activity efforts for CV residents.
Finally, the Mini-Marketplace, facilitated by CL staffer Vern, was lively and there were some very valuable exchanges and matches. A CPAP machine (for sleep apnea) was offered and there was a match from someone in the circle who needed one. Value? Around $500.00 There was also a used electric wheelchair offered and exchanged. Estimated Value between $1200-$1800. This in addition to moving help, furniture and other valuable exchanges.
The doors opened at 6:30 and the event was wrapped up at 7:50, which included time for eating and mingling and people bingo.
Both CL and PM staff saw Neighbor Night as a very successful event. Here is some testimony from CL Director Jessica Russell about she she thinks it worked so well. “Having a very tight agenda helped a lot too because staff and residents then knew what to expect and saw how they fit into the evening. Everything about this mixer was intentional and deliberate which really made a difference from past experience, as there was little room to get side tracked so no one had to worry about it turning into a complaint hour. Most importantly the residents had a great time and received a lot of value from the entire event. It truly created a clear sense of community for the entire room.”