Bonus Summer Adventure Activity: Reach Out to Neighbors and Improve Your Community Together 

Welcome to Week 6 of Summer Adventure 

Hello fellow adventurers! It is week six of our Summer Adventure and we have been getting wonderful submissions. Thank you to everyone who has shared with us. Don’t forget, there is still time to join the adventure, and we look forward to seeing everyone’s story!   

We also just launched a survey and would be grateful to hear what everyone thinks about Summer Adventure. Your feedback helps us plan for the future! There is even an extra chance to win a bonus prize if you submit a response!  

Our bonus activity for this week is, “Reach out to neighbors and improve your community together.” Our teammate Raul works with our Social Justice Services division and brings AC Library services to the young residents at the Justice Juvenile Center and Camp Sweeney. He shares a heartwarming and inspirational story about a community coming together with kindness and a common cause in a time of need. Continue reading below to hear his wonderful contribution to our A World of Stories. Consider sharing your own story for the chance to win a prize! 

Reach Out to Your Neighbors, Make Friends, Clean Your Streets, and Share Your Books! 

This is a guest blog written by Raul Rodriguez. 

As my son Benicio (Beni) and I finished Season 1 of The Flash (our favorite Superhero) we looked at each other and said, “What do we want to do now?” We both had a desire to get outside in our neighborhood, to move and get active. Distance learning and shelter-in-place was taking its toll on us all—I’m sure you all know what I mean!  

Beni and I wanted to reach out to the other kids and parents/guardians (P/Gs); to get to know each other, build on our slight sense of community, and make some new friends. Throughout the year(s), it was easy for the kids to get to know each other and start socializing by skateboarding, biking, and enjoying being a neighborhood kid (I miss those days growing up in The Mission). On the other hand, sadly, the P/Gs would only acknowledge and say “hello” every so often when walking the dogs, leaving for work (pre-COVID), or running into each other at Trader Joe’s. 


Due to the “Slow Streets” barriers that are all over Alameda, it wasn’t too problematic to have Beni ride his bike and engage with the kids in our neighborhood. They usually come out to play just after 4:00 PM. Some of the kids there were already his pals, while he befriended the kids he didn’t know. So I mustered up the audacity to start a conversation with the P/Gs  that I didn’t recognize (those that were out watching the kids). My attempt to start a dialogue, asking  how we all could keep our kids active during COVID and change their daily shelter-in-place routine… was a hit!!  


With all the dialogue, the play between the kids, and the P/Gs’ chats and strolls around our block, we all noticed how  it was a bit neglected; there were lots of used masks scattered in the streets. We challenged ourselves and the kids to do something nurturing for our neighborhood.  

As we discussed picking up trash, the kids decided to start cleaning up the block too. The P/Gs  proposed to the kids that they go home to their collective  bookshelves, go through their collections, and gather all the books they wanted to exchange and donate to the little community libraries. Beni was surprised with how many of the kids like the same books and stories that he really enjoys. The Wimpy Kid series was hands down their favorite!!! 

Ultimately … 

The P/Gs and I did our best to clean up the adjoining blocks while we shared our short individual stories.  New friendships emerged, and the neighborhood became closer and tidier. Now the adults have additional reasons to stop and smell the roses and check in on how things are going. It was never an issue with our little ones.  

I’d have to say that our most common narrative is the love of being a parent, the daily challenges we face during these trying times, and keeping our children safe and sane throughout. It is heartening to hear the stories of my neighbors, share our common concerns, and celebrate our new found community!!! ? 

Raul’s resources: 

How You Can Help Your Neighbors and Community 

10 small ways you can improve your neighborhood 

Ready for an Adventure? 

There are plenty of ways to adventure with the library this summer. We have story lists and programs related to our theme, A World of Stories, to attend every week.