Block captains are your point persons for issues pertaining to your block and are your liaison to the Shaw Neighborhood Improvement Association. They’re there to help connect you to resources and to each other! Block captains are on the Board of Directors of the Shaw Neighborhood Improvement Association (SNIA) and vote at SNIA board meetings, occasionally get together to discuss neighborhood-wide issues, and frequently organize block parties and National Night Out events.
Please email SNIA to get your block captain’s direct contact information. Block captains are volunteers so don’t forget to show your appreciation for the time they put in to making sure your block is the best that it can be!
If your block doesn’t currently have a captain, why not consider becoming block captain? If you are worried that you don’t have enough time, consider joining one of your neighbors to serve as co-captains. Contact the SNIA office for assistance or let us know if you are interested in becoming a block captain.
Information for block captains
Below are some tips and resources from the Neighborhood Stabilization Team that can help you organize your block.
About Block Units
A block unit is about neighbors knowing each other, people watching out for each other. It is people working together to clean alleys, plant trees and flowers or working with City government to meet area needs. It is where we live, raise our families, where we work and play. What happens on one block affects the street, which affects the neighborhood, which in turn affects the whole of St. Louis. The stronger our blocks, the stronger our City. Block Units create the foundation for a stronger, safer and more vital neighborhood. It is the building block of a neighborhood organization.
Use these templates to communicate with the neighbors on your block:
- Block roster (xls): This Excel spreadsheet can help you keep track of who lives on your block. We filled it out with silly celebrity examples – now make it your own!
- Welcome letter (doc): Use this general letter template to welcome new neighbors moving onto your block.
- Event flyer (doc): Customize this flyer to announce a meeting or social event for your block.
Organizing your block
Step 1: Know Your Resources
- Shaw Neighborhood Improvement Association – 314-771-3101 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Neighborhood Stabilization Team – 314-657-1392: Facilitate city service delivery and work with you to resolve problems
- Citizens Service Bureau – 314-622-4800: Customer service department for City government; place to register complaints about City services
Step 2: Setting a Time and Place for Meetings or Social Events
Make your meetings or social gatherings at times that are convenient for most of the people on the block.
Step 3: Getting the Word Out
Flyers let everyone on the block know about the event. State time, location, and reason. Recruit neighbors to help distribute them door-to-door. If needed, copies can be made at the SNIA office. You can create a flyer using this template.
Step 4: Meeting or Social Event Content
What are the residents’ main concerns or ideas for the block? Keep it simple and don’t try to do everything at once.
Step 5: The Agenda
Putting together an agenda will ensure a productive and timely meeting which is simple, brief, and informative.
Step 6: Information
Have information (be it on hand in folders or point people to the website) regarding various City programs and services: Citizen’s Service Bureau, Police department, Neighborhood Stabilization Team, etc.
Step 7: Making the Meeting a Success
- Stick to the main topic on the agenda.
- Be sure everyone has an opportunity to talk.
- Begin a phone/address/email list and have a sign in sheet.
- Plan your next meeting.
Step 8: The Future
Continue to communicate about meetings, prioritize concerns and issues, develop and implement projects, work with City agencies and other neighborhood organizations. Make sure new block residents hear about the block meetings and activities and invite them, and also that property owners are invited as well as the tenants. Continually update the block phone/address/email list (see template above) and listen to each other so there is agreement about the main issues and concerns facing your block.
Have fun, and don’t forget to socialize! If it’s not fun, many people won’t participate. By getting organized, you and your neighbors will have a unified, powerful voice that will be heard and will be more effective than individuals working on their own.