While the words are often used interchangeably, neighborhoods and communities are vastly different. Whereas a neighborhood is defined by geography, a community is defined by a bond among people.
Even the friendliest of neighborhoods can lack a sense of community, because it’s about more than being nice. It’s about truly caring for one another. When this happens, a zip code transforms into something more than numbers. This could not be more true for April Grant of Ellensburg, Washington.
To April, the genuine kindness of residents has changed her perspective on the power of community, and she shared with us the moment that changed her viewpoint forever.
Ten years ago, April’s life was in turmoil as her husband was hospitalized for nearly six months. Fairly new to Ellensburg and with a newborn in tow, it was a difficult time to say the least. Though she didn’t know her neighbors well, residents learned of her situation and sprang into action.
From placing boxes of infant supplies and gift cards by her front door, to covering the cost of daycare for the duration of her husband’s hospitalization, the love from strangers was abundant. Even when they were not financially able to embrace Christmas traditions, a local organization sponsored her family and filled the fridge with food, decorated a tree and piled presents underneath for her children.
Those acts of kindness not only changed April’s life, but also inspired her to pay it forward. Still residing in Ellensburg, April and her family are active members of the community, which comes together during both good and trying times year-round.
One of the main reasons Ellensburg is a community to April and so many others is its notion of love. Residents celebrate each other’s differences and embrace kindness by accepting everyone, regardless of age, race, beliefs or circumstances. It may be a town filled with people from all walks of life going through a variety of hardships, but it is one community.
Walking the streets of Ellensburg, you may see yellow signs with words of affirmation. It’s a grassroots effort started by residents to serve as friendly reminders to simply be good to each other. Little acts like this create a strong connection between people who may otherwise have nothing in common other than where they live.
Just as April was inspired by her neighbors, we hope you’ll be inspired by April to intentionally spread love in your neighborhood and feel the power of community first-hand.
Story Submitted By: April Grant of Ellensburg, Washington