The 4-H Exploring Citizenship: Unit II—My Neighborhood (4H CIM 11) is a citizenship and leadership publication is for 4-H members ages 9–11. This unit focus is beyond the family and friends and goes into the neighborhood and school. The accompanying leaders guide is Exploring Citizenship (4H CIL 20).
In EDIS this publication is DLN 4H 016.
Visit the 4-H Youth Development Curriculum website for more information on related project material.
Click here to print or view the entire project.
This material was originally prepared by the Southern Regional 4-H Citizenship Literature Committee through a grant from the Coca-Cola Company, then printed and distributed by the National 4-H Council. The Committee was Norma Roberts, Louisiana; Ruth Milton, Florida; Maurice Spencer, Georgia; Robert Soileau, Louisiana; and Ben Powell, Tennessee. The text for the original project was developed by Norma O. Roberts, 4-H Specialist, Louisiana State University Cooperative Extension Service.
You are about to begin the second unit in the 4-H Citizenship Project, entitled "My Neighborhood". In this unit, you will learn that being a "good citizen" is also important outside your family and friends.
In this project you will:
Get to know your neighborhood and your neighbors.
Practice being a "good neighbor."
Help others learn to be good neighbors.
Practice good citizenship in your school.
This project should be completed in one year. Review the THINGS TO DO activities listed in this Project Book and decide what you would like to do. Check at least six activities you plan to complete and list your goals below. Turn in your completed Project Book and Project Report Summary to your leader when you have completed this unit.
My Neighborhood PROJECT GOALS
List the things you want to do or learn in the project this year.
Part 1. Who Are My Neighbors?
People who live in the same area are called neighbors. They see one another often. They live next door, in the same apartment unit, or down the street or road. The place where they live is called the neighborhood. A neighborhood can offer the protection, security and companionship of neighbors.
How well do you know your neighbors? Some of your neighbors may be "friends you haven't met." Some people have never met the people who live next door, much less those down the block or across the hall. Friendships can only happen when people meet each other. Complete strangers can't be friends so it's important to meet your neighbors. This unit will help you get to know your neighbors.
Create a Neighborhood Map
Make a neighborhood map in the space on the next page. You can decide on your own how big an area you want to call your neighborhood, but for this map include about 5 to 10 neighborhood families.
My Neighborhood Map
Directions: On your map, show the houses or apartments of the 5 to 10 neighborhood families. Place them as they are in your neighborhood. Try to go in all directions around your home. If you live in a rural area, your neighbors may be farther away but they are still your neighbors. Label each with the names of all their family members. You may need to number the homes and list the names on another sheet of paper.
Draw your map here:
Meet Your Neighbors
Do you know all of your neighbors on your map? If not, try to meet those you don't know. Make sure your family is with you whenever you meet new people. One way to start is to take a walk in your neighborhood, or speak to people as you pass them going in and out of your apartment building, and watch for an opportunity to introduce yourself to those you not know. Be sure your conversations do not seem too "nosy" by asking personal questions. Explain to your neighbors that you are doing this for your 4-H Citizenship Project.
Tell about the new neighbors you met.
WHAT I DID:
WHAT I LEARNED:
Part 2. Being a Good Neighbor
Being a good neighborhood citizen is more than just meeting your neighbors. It means showing your neighbors that you care about them. In this part of the project you will identify some ways to do this.
What kind of neighbor are you? Do you and your family do things currently with any of your neighbors? Would you return a stray pet or pick up the paper for a neighbor while they are away?
List things you and your family think make you a good neighbor.
Neighborhood Rights and Responsibilities
A neighborhood is made up of other people who are affected by you and what you do, just as you are affected by them. It is important that each person in the neighborhood act in a way that does not take away the rights of the other people there. This is what being a good citizen in the neighborhood is all about.
Neighborhoods often have rules or even laws that protect the rights of those who live there. These are different in different kinds of neighborhoods, but some might be like these:
- Property laws that protect the things people own.
- Pet laws that say pets must be kept on the owner's property or on a leash.
- Noise laws that say you should not disturb others with loud noise.
- Pollution laws that do not allow burning trash.
- Litter laws that say people should keep one another's property clean and free of trash.
Let's take a look around a neighborhood and see if there are any signs of people's rights being abused. How many can you find?
Things to Do
These are all simple ways to show your neighbors that you care about them.
Choose three or more of these ideas and list what you did:
- Protect a neighbor's newspaper when it's about to rain.
- Keep your pets and toys out of your neighbor's yard.
- Take a neighbor a gift of flowers you picked or food you prepared.
- Help your neighbors cut their grass, or cut it for them when they are away or ill.
- Buy or make a birthday or holiday card for a neighbor.
- Give a neighbor something from your garden.
- Run an errand for a neighbor.
- Take the time to visit with a neighbor who lives alone.
- Respect your neighbor's property and privacy. Play in your own yard unless your neighbor has invited you to play in his or hers.
- Clean up around the outside of where you live to make your neighborhood look better.
- List three other things you could do to help your neighbors.
WHAT I DID:
WHAT I LEARNED:
Part 3. Helping Others Be Good Neighbors
You can help others in your neighborhood to be good neighbors, too. Most people are just like you. They may be too busy or even a little bashful when it comes to meeting their neighbors.
Have you had neighbors help you and your family? Yes No
If you have, list ways you have been helped by your neighbors:
If not, what ways could your neighbors be better citizens to your family or others in your neighborhood?
You can help neighbors work together, now that you've found out about some of the rewards of being neighborly. Several different ideas to do with your neighbors are suggested on the next page. Ask your parents to help you decide what to do.
Things to Do: Working with Others
Share copies of your neighborhood map to help them get to know each other.
- Make a poster of magazine pictures or your own drawings showing ways neighbors can live and work together for the good of all. Put up your poster in a place where neighbors will see it.
- Plan a multi-family or neighborhood yard sale. This is a great way to get people together and is a great way to meet new families.
- Have a neighborhood supper or picnic. Invite some of your neighbors to come with food items so they can meet each other as they share a meal.
- Find an area in your neighborhood that is littered, unkempt, or unsafe and improve it. Plan a neighborhood work day to clean up or fix up something that the whole neighborhood uses. Get some neighbors together to decide what to do and when.
- List two other things you could do to with your neighbors:
WHAT I DID:
WHAT I LEARNED:
Part 4. Being a Good Citizen at School
Your schoolmates and teachers are your school neighbors. They are affected by you and your actions just as much as neighbors living near you. What kind of a school neighbor or citizen are you? The way you answer these questions will give you some idea.
How did you do?
Each item is important for good school citizenship. If some sad faces are circled, these may be areas you need to work on in this part of your project.
Do you have some things that you need to do to become a better school citizen? List them here:
It's important for you to be a good school citizen. It's important not only while you're in school, but also for the future of our country. Records have shown that students who are good school citizens usually turn out to be good citizens when they leave school to take their place in adult community life. So you can see why schools consider it a very important part of their job to help students become good school citizens.
Everything in school helps you in some way to be a good citizen. The subjects taught in your regular classes help. Extra class activities, such as after school sports, clubs, and school parties help. Student government, school assemblies, and homeroom meetings all help you to think through and solve common problems.
Things to Do
Choose one or more of the following activities, but be sure to check with your teacher or school principal before starting any projects at your school
- Find an area of your school that is littered, unsafe, or unattractive and improve it.
- Choose a "secret pal" for a week. Do nice things for him or her.
- Make a poster about a school problem such as litter, noise, respect for property, or school spirit and display it at school.
- Organize a clean-up committee for helping to keep your school and school ground clean.
- Interview your principal about some of the needs of your school that your 4-H group can help with. Present these to your group and help them to decide on what they'd like to do. Help them to organize committees to get everyone involved in the project(s) chosen.
- Find out about the history of your school and present a program on this at a school assembly.
- Start a mentoring program at your school to help the younger children get the most out of school clubs and class work. This could range from tutoring to inviting them to 4-H programs or sports events.
- Make a new student feel welcome by introducing them to your friends. Invite them to become a 4-H member.
WHAT I DID:
WHAT I LEARNED:
Additional Citizenship Units
Good citizenship involves more than understanding and participating in government. Good citizenship is important in relationships with your family, friends, and neighbors. Good citizenship is important to your 4-H Club and other organizations you belong to. It means understanding and appreciating yourself and your heritage, and having the same respect for other people and their heritages.
The citizenship project is made up of a series of seven units. The citizenship project consists of the following units:
Unit 1: Me, My Family and My Friends
Unit 2: My Neighborhood
Unit 3: My Clubs and Groups
Unit 4: My Community
Unit 5: My Heritage
Unit 6: My Government
Unit 7: My World