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    Black is student's original writing        Blue is teacher's correction     Red is teacher's explanation

   My Neighborhood Essay, English Composition Writing on My Neighborhood

{1} Having long been living in this alley, I know almost everyone here. It is, however, the housewives that I usually see in the daytime, the rest being either out working as family providers or away in school. All these housewives are kind and considerate. My mother, for example, takes care of my sister's daughter even though she herself is busy with housekeeping' yet if she finds it necessary to go out shopping, she need not worry because there is always someone in the neighborhood coming over of her own will to help with our household chores. When suppertime is over, these housewives also like to gather at a certain place for a friendly chat about the daily goings-on in the alley or other things. They are also security-conscious, trying to keep each other out of harm's way. I is thanks to such mutual help and precaution against harm that we in the alley have lived so happy and so undisturbed a life.

{2} We have moved into this apartment for nineteen months. Our neighbors are an assorted group including merchants, teachers, grocers and government employees. Once I went hurriedly to work and forgot to turn off the faucet connected by a hose to the washing machine. It was only when I got to my office that I remembered what I neglected to do. Anxious and uneasy, I called up one of my neighbors, a Mrs. Lin, to ask her to take care of the faucet. She was obliging enough to do what she was told to do and I was so grateful. According to an old Chinese saying, a distant relative is less likely to help you out than a near neighbor. There is certainly a ring of truth in this. There are, however, neighbors and neighbors. Although our neighbors are generally friendly and always ready to help us, there are some who tend to do something unpleasant. They scatter their garbage where it is not supposed to be scattered and a couple living on the floor just above us often quarrel and fight around midnight with so much noise that I simply cannot have a good sleep at all. The Bible says, "Love thy neighbor." Well said, but I would like to add: Make yourself lovable before you expect to be loved by others. I really hope all of my neighbors will love each other. Only under such circumstances can we find our hours at home enjoyable.

{3} I live in a rural area. As in most rural areas, this area has plenty of fresh air and luxuriant vegetation. What makes me even happier is the neighbors I have, all of them simple and honest folks. I don't think I can find the like of them in a city. In general, city dwellers, except in their own small circles of acquaintances, see each other as total strangers, and it is not unusual to find people living in the same apartment house brush past each other without showing any sign of recognition, not so much as a nodding of the head. Neighbors are usually compared to our close friends and as such they should help each other if help is sought. My neighbors are all farmers, who are rich, not in material possessions, but in hospitality, and their honesty to help are legendary. For reasons quite obvious, it is important to get along well with our neighbors and avoid quarreling with them over trivialities. I am a good neighbor to my neighbors, and so are they to me.

{4} Our ol

d home was located on a grassy plain and not far from it were wide farms and a big orchard. There was a dirt road running past our house and winding up a hill; along the road you could find a serpentine creek alive with fish and prawn as well as a big pond often cluttered with blooming lotuses. The grassy plain, wide farms, dirt road, crooked creek and the pond are the things I can hardly forget and also the things that often put me in mind of my days first as a child and then as an adolescent. But, alas, no traces are now left of the scene of my past. Our old house has given way to a high apartment building; the dirt road is now replaced by a smooth highway; the wide farms and that big orchard have long been converted into factory grounds. Though I have lived in that apartment building for a long time, I am not acquainted with my fellow occupants, not knowing who they are and what they are. I dislike this impersonal human relationship and also the surroundings of my present dwelling place. The old creek is still there but so heavily polluted by a near-by factory that neither fish nor humans can find its water drinkable. There is also no fresh air, no fragrance of the soil. I deplore the side-effects of a material civilization. If we do no try to solve the problems that plague our neighborhood, the quality our life will simply turn from bad to worse.

{5} If there is anything special about my neighborhood, it is that there is a beautiful orchard and all the residents are good neighbors. Far removed from any heavy traffic flows, this neighborhood is also a place of peace and quiet. I can still picture to myself how I spent my girlhood happily here. Besides playing boisterous ball games on the ground we children also played in the trees of the orchard and picked whatever fruits we could lay our hands on. Each of us had his of her own pets, such as dogs, guinea pigs, pigeons and even butterflies. Fast friends we were in those years, Our parents often gathered in one place for a chit-chat after supper and we children were rapt listeners even though we did not really understand what they were talking about. They were never harsh on us kids. Our next-door neighbor Mrs. Wang was especially liked by us because she habitually sent us cookies. Our own grandma was an excellent story-teller and we children often fell under the spell of her fascinating stories. Mr. Chang was also an unforgettable character. Whenever we saw him he was singing and his baby face and soft voice pleased us all. This is my neighborhood, a world unto its own which has remained largely unchanged in so many years. It is nice to live here and my neighbors will surely agree with me.

{6} I live in the country. Our family lives by farming. Close to our home is a small farm. In spring we can see the tender green of the young paddy shoots mellow with the passing of the months. Looming in the distance from our farm are the blue mountains, which are clad in all shades of red at sunset. What a spectacle! I often said to myself when I looked away at those mountains at such a moment. The wonders of nature, I believe, can have a soothing effect on anyone in distress. Not far away from our house lives an old couple. They always get up early and then go for a walk hand in hand. They never quarrel and live like a pair of newlyweds. With no children living with them, they take helping others as a way to alleviate their feeling of loneliness. They are my most affectionate grandparents. I love them as they do me. I hope that someday when I get married my wife and I can live like them in the country enjoying a carefree life.

{7} One of my best neighbors is Mr. Chang, a thirty-year-old, tall and handsome, friendly and considerate man. He is a hard worker, especially so in the past when he had to make money to feed his family. Now his hard-working habit has paid off; he has established his own business and his family is in much better financial shape than ever before. He has a deep-seated sense of honor and is trustworthy, industrious and tolerant and it is such virtues, I think, that win him respect and make him well established in society. By contrast, Mrs. Li is one of my worst neighbors. She is a woman in her forties, bulky and with a strident voice. She likes to shout her demands, which greatly annoy us, and is also self-righteous in everything and intolerant of any small faults of others. How others would feel is not what she cares. Rich as she is, she is disliked by all her neighbors.

{8} The Wangs, a family of five, are our next door neighbors. It is seven years since they moved into our neighborhood. The oldest of the family is the grandma. She is over seventy and hard of hearing; so if you speak to her you must speak louder than usual. Mr. and Mrs. Wang are both teachers; he teaches English and she music. They have two twin daughters who look much alike and always wear the same clothes. Although I have known these two girls for seven years, yet it is difficult for me to tell the one from the other. The Wangs are characteristically warm-hearted and it seems that they are always ready to help anyone in need of help. Neighbors are said to be a group who can hardly agree on anything; however, the longer I get along with the Wangs, the more I like them. I am glad I have such good neighbors and I have a hunch that they feel the same as I do.
 

What Kind of Neighbor are You? Try Our Good Neighbor Quiz



1. I know ____________ neighbors on my block.
a. Zero (why bother, I'm never home anyway)
b. 1-4
c. 5-10
d. 11 or more

2. When a new neighbor moves onto my block, I
a. wouldn't know that they are new.
b. request that they cut down the large weeping willow tree in their yard that has been perpetuating the annoying squirrel problem in the area.
c. introduce myself and give my phone number in case of an emergency.
d. bring over a Welcome Bag, invite them to the next neighborhood meeting, and provide them with a copy of the neighborhood directory.

3. If my neighbor and I have a conflict that I don't think we can resolve on our own, I
a. Leave harassing phone messages and prepare to sell the house.
b. Avoid addressing the conflict until emotions are extremely high.
c. Hold a neighborhood meeting to establish mutual expectations in the neighborhood.
d. Utilize a conflict resolution/mediation service to resolve the problem as quickly and easily as possible. (Did you know the Town has one?)

4. When I park my car,
a. I park on my front lawn.
b. Speed into the neighborhood with my stereo blasting before parking in front of a neighbor's house.
c. I park in front of a neighbor's house but am careful to turn my stereo down so as to not disturb them.
d. I park in my garage, driveway, or in front of my own house.

5. When I leave on vacation, I
a. Don't tell a soul…nobody will notice that I'm gone anyway.
b. Make sure the automatic sprinkler system is on.
c. Leave a phone number where I can be reached in an emergency with a trustworthy neighbor.
d. Arrange with a neighbor for the lawn to be mowed, plants watered, and/or snow shoveled. I also leave emergency phone numbers, house keys, and travel plans with neighbors.

6. My dog (IF APPLICABLE) Other Animal: ____________
a. Barks 24 hours a day.
b. Gets accused by other neighbors of barking. I, however, am convinced that it is not MY Rosco who is causing the problem.
c. Is generally quiet and well behaved unless the doorbell rings or the mailman comes?
d. Is always on a leash and picked up after on walks.

7. My yard could be described as:
a. Yard? Do you mean the junkyard?
b. The Sherwood Forest: It'll be nice once I mow the grass and cut down these overgrown branches.
c. Acceptable: it's as well kept as the other yards on my block.
d. The Garden of Eden: I've won the "pride in property" award 4 consecutive years.

8. When I hear of meetings or activities happening in my neighborhood, I
a. Crumple up the notice left on my door and throw it into my front yard.
b. Half-heartedly try to convince my spouse/a friend to attend so that we don't look bad.
c. Attend and do the best I can to help organize.
d. Run the meetings, host the garage sale, and infect others with my contagious enthusiasm.

9. I would describe my neighborhood as a place where
a. I sleep (and occasionally pick up a ticket or warning from Town Code Enforcement)
b. Most people can be assured that they won't get any of their personal possessions stolen.
c. I can relax.
d. I feel connected and valued. This is my favorite place to spend my time.

10. If I am hosting a party at my house that will last late at night, I
a. Expect to receive a noise ticket from the Town. Who can control all of these people anyway?
b. Call the non emergency police number (961-1150) if things get too out of control.
c. Leave neighbors with a phone number where our sober host can be contacted if they are disturbed.
d. Notify neighbors in advance, identify a sober host at the party, control the number of people invited to the party, and monitor guests as they arrive and leave the house. I also check in with neighbors after the party to make sure that the noise level was acceptable to them.
 



Essay 2:
Neighboring Helps Everyone Succeed

I
n communities across America, the spirit of self-sufficiency and "giving back" is alive and well – and solving local problems. "Neighboring" is bringing residents in neighborhoods facing tough challenges together with local community members, businesses, churches, and other stakeholders to design effective volunteer solutions like never before.

From a wealth of experience in strengthening families and transforming neighborhoods like West Central, the Points of Light Foundation, with support from The Annie E. Casey Foundation, developed the neighboring model. The model shows that no matter what community you live in, neighboring holds a place for every one of us to add our talents to change our neighbors' lives for the better.

In the old days, society's most intransigent problems were often solved by outside organizations or government agencies swooping in like angels from the skies, setting up a food bank or tutoring program, then leaving. Within a year or two, such initiatives usually died, leaving nothing behind but memories and few lasting results.

We're now at a crossroads in the concept of social service, where the path of challenged neighborhoods like Springfield's West Central District, intersects with the reality of fading community resources.

West Central is a perfect example of what's long been dubbed a "tough neighborhood." Conditions make it hard for families and children to succeed, and residents struggle to overcome odds. Long-time Springfield resident Sharon Burns, a teacher at West Central Elementary, decided to try and change things right where she lived and worked. She'd seen too many kids she'd taught in first grade end up in jail before high school graduation. She took the neighboring concept to heart, which meant enlisting a broad spectrum of the community to come together to solve local problems.

Within six months, Sharon had parents, businesses, churches, other teachers, and students in West Central schools working together to improve the odds for young people in the neighborhood through a child care center co-op called New Visions Child Development Center. Parents who give time to watch children, made meals, or who read to the children get free childcare themselves in return. Volunteers find rewards, both tangible and intangible come from having a hand in improving their lives.

The bottom line is: Volunteering works. And today, more people are giving of their time to serve their neighbors. The Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported that both the number of volunteers and the volunteer rate rose over the year ending in September 2003. About 63.8 million people did volunteer work at some point from September 2002 to September 2003, up from 59.8 million for the similar period ended in September 2002. The percentage of the American population who volunteered has increased to 28.8 percent, up from 27.4 percent the previous year.

In West Central, more people – from all age groups, ethnicities, individually and together as families – are banding together to make the changes that matter in their neighborhood. Working with nonprofits, businesses, educational institutions, and the government, they are creating a culture of service and citizenship. New Visions is the first of what could be many such projects. From after school tutoring programs to food banks and health services, there is no limit to what the power of neighbors working together can accomplish.

West Central is a developing success story. Everyone in our community should keep an eye on its progress and pitch in – if not in West Central, then in your own neighborhood. Paying real attention to our fellow citizens and looking for solutions that we can build with our own hands – these are the gifts we can give to each other that make our communities and our country great.
 

Essay 3: A Neighborhood Field Study

Downtown Champaign is a neighborhood of great contrast and would be perfect for the continued study of neighborhoods and their dynamics. The housing really varies within the area and it has tons of businesses available to the residents. It also has a variety of communal structures that add to the social capital within the neighborhood. This area has been the center of the Champaign community since its inception, and the feel of this neighborhood’s business embodies the time period in which it was built.

The housing of this area presents a vast array of options. Unlike most suburbs the housing in this area is not just restricted to one type of housing. The area boasts houses and apartments and that vary vastly in styles. Most of the houses in the area are older (around 30s or 40s maybe earlier) and are of Victorian decent. Due to their age some of the houses are in extreme disrepair, during the visit there were at least three crews working on renovations for several houses in the area. Some of the houses in the area were boarded and looked abandoned, yet others appeared brand new from the outside. Furthermore, there was quite a bit of variation in colors and styles instead of the three and four set designs that are often employed in suburban development. The houses for the most part had extremely big porches and garages tended to be non existent or detached in alley fashion or off and to the back of the house. These porches were usable and overall had quite a bit of patio furniture playing testament to there constant use. The streets in the residential area are made of brick and are further proof of the age of this community. The apartments of the area also showed quite a bit of variation. There were many apartment buildings in the area ranging from torn down section nine housing all the way to elegant lofts and they were scattered throughout the community with the apartments being closer to the retail shops and cafes. There was an especially nice set of apartments or condos that had just been built in a new building that houses a bank and room for other future shops. In addition to the residential section, there is also quite a few businesses, restaurants, and other establishments that are scattered through this neighborhood as well.

Being as this is downtown Champaign there are various businesses that dwell within this area. There are quite a few banks in the area that can probably be attributed to it being one of the denser metropolitan areas in the county. As well as banks the neighborhood has many other mom and pop type stores that reside in the area. These include music shops, antique shops, convenience store, kid’s museum, law firms, real estate offices, the Virginia Theatre, and other establishments. Most of these establishments are located mainly around Neil and Walnut and are separate from the residential area by about a block maybe less—except for the apartments that are on top of businesses. In addition to businesses they also have many other establishments that do great service for the community; some of the highlights being a United Way office, AFL-CIO (union) coordinating office, three churches, and a community YMCA. All of these establishments are located around a central park that is the main focal point of the area. West Side Park is in the center of this community and contains about 12 acres of land. In the park there is a statue at the very center, playground, a bandstand, and several walking paths. This community also has quite a few establishments for eating, drinking, and socializing: the Seven Saints, Guidos, Cakes on Walnut, the Esquire Lounge, Jim Goulds, Seven Saints, the Brass Rail, Boltini Lounge, and various other establishments. Some but not all of these establishments fit most of the parameters for third places as well. After speaking with workers and visiting a few of these establishments (Guidos, Cakes on Walnut, and the Brass Rail), most of them fit under the category of third places; they are fairly priced for food and drink, have quite a few regulars, and a community following. Lastly this community has two schools that reside within its limits as well. There is a small catholic school that resides next to a church and Champaign Central resides near the park as well. The catholic school seemed like it would be private. One of the mothers that we consulted stated that the kids come in from all over the area and not necessarily the community. Some come from as far as Mahomet to attend school there. Champaign Central draws kids from across the area too and is housed in a rather old building. It is important to mention the changes that this neighborhood is experiencing as well. There are quite a few new buildings in the area (the new parking garage and high rise), and many old structures, houses and businesses alike, are being renovated or torn down. Despite this, the community has been able to retain its hometown feel and a great variation of businesses.

All in all this would be a rather interesting neighborhood to study. Though it has some modern aspects, it is built in the old fashioned and therefore has many characteristics that were instrumented in older society. Most places within the community are within walking distance, is built around a center focal point sort of like a square, and the housing contains styles that were popular in that area. Though it is going thru massive changes, if chosen for research, downtown Champaign would provide interesting results that would more than likely affirm many of the facets of the articles that we have read and studied throughout the semester.
 

 

  

An Essay About My Neighborhood

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