Urban Mission launches ‘Who Is My Neighbor’ community survey

SURVEY SAYS — Looking over questions that are part of a community survey in progress by Urban Mission Ministries are, from left, Tiffany Beckwith, volunteer and donor coordinator; the Rev. Ashley Steele, executive director; and Jodie Feezle, mission social worker. Volunteers are being recruited to help. -- Janice Kiaski

STEUBENVILLE — Urban Mission Ministries wants to make like Mr. Rogers and know its neighbors.

The effort is taking the form of a community survey launched this month as part of a desire not only to better serve their needs but to better know who they are and their potential. It will continue through the end of the year.

“Who is My Neighbor” is a community survey geared to learn more about the changing needs of the neighborhoods and the unique strengths of its neighbors, according to the Rev. Ashley Steele, executive director of Urban Mission Ministries.

“We do surveys often here, but they tend to be just with folks we serve who come to the mission,” Steele said.

This survey involves going out into neighborhoods in the downtown — a canvass being undertaken by volunteers from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays. Volunteers interested in helping are asked to contact Tiffany Beckwith, volunteer and donor coordinator, by phone at (740) 282-8010 or by e-mail to tbeckwith@urbanmission.org.

“This year we want to go out into the downtown area and start to hear more from our neighbors in terms of who they are and what they need, but more importantly what they would have to offer, because we realize that there is so much untapped potential here in this area that has just not had the opportunity to be used, and so we want to hear from all local neighbors and one way to do that is meet them and talk with them,” Steele said.

Because the survey began during September, Hunger Action Month, some of the questions will focus on food needs, but it involves general questions, too.

“We’re getting a sense of ‘Hey do you want a grocery store downtown or what kind of store would you support, how do you want to be involved in bringing this to downtown?’ so there will be a focus of that, but then also just some general questions,” Steele explained.

“If people like to walk in neighborhoods and meet people and be a part of this, we would love for them to join us,” she said.

According to the mission’s September newsletter regarding the survey, fewer than half of American adults know most or all of their neighbors.

A recent survey from the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that when respondents were asked if they knew the names of the neighbors who live close to them, 19 percent of adults said they knew all of their neighbors. Another 24 percent, the item notes, said they knew most of their neighbors.

This left the majority of American adults knowing only some (29 percent) or none (28 percent) of their neighbors by name.

“We want to change that in Steubenville,” the newsletter notes. “In fact, we want to get to know our neighbors even better so we can better serve their needs and learn more about who they are and what they can contribute to the neighborhood around them.”

The mission plans to publish the findings of its results in a future newsletter.