Communities Connect

Neighbors unite while social distancing


Alina Kushner

Neighbor friends find one of the crocheted emojis Simone Mar and Kiley Mar created and hid throughout the Forest Hill neighborhood. Throughout the city, neighbors are creating activities that are safe during the shelter in place.

Alina Kushner, Senior Reporter

To cope with stress, anxiety and isolation due to the shelter-in-place order, San Francisco residents are finding ways to come together and lift spirits with block dance parties, scavenger hunts and daily honoring of first responders. 

Residents of 26th St. in Noe Valley are holding block dance parties on Wednesdays, playing 80’s music and Madonna songs, and socializing and connecting while following social distancing protocols. 

“It is a good break from the depressing quarantine,” sophomore Alia Mogannam said. “The first time it happened, it really made my day because it was so cute. There were a lot of little kids on my block and they were having such a good time — it was adorable.”

In Forest Hill, 9-year-old Simone Mar and her mother Kiley Mar crocheted emojis and hid them around the neighborhood as a surprise for walkers out getting exercise in their neighborhood. 

“We were on a walk and we found that someone else made crocheted little animals,” Simone Mar said. “We thought it was a really sweet thing to do and that we should do it, too.”

Kiley has been receiving texts from neighbors thanking them for creating the activity. Other surprises have popped up in the neighborhood, such as a Tree Trail hike, a set of chalk arrows leading people around the area and names of tree species along the way. 

“It’s been fun,” Kiley Mar said. “Simone has been inspired by little things she’s been doing, learning and seeing and it’s been a fun creative window.” 

Neighborhoods are also coming together at 7 p.m. to honor first responders by going outside and clapping in honor of the doctors, nurses, police officers and others who are working and treating patients. 

“People cheer and whistle and it is overall really uplifting and a positive experience,” sophomore Annelie Dolan said. “I really feel a sense of community even just within my block. It helps look at the positives in this uncertain time and really appreciate all of the doctors and people helping those in need.”

In another section of Noe Valley, a violinist is giving weekly concerts outdoors to over 30 people on her street. 

“It’s special because this is her gift to the community and she’s got something beautiful that she can share,” history teacher Michael Stafford said. “This was something that brought everyone together in a way that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. It was this really lovely community building experience.” 

Many residents say their neighborhoods are finding new ways of relating to each other despite the shelter-in place order. 

“I definitely feel that my sense of community is stronger as I participate in the clapping,” Dolan said. “It is great to do something with neighbors on my block that I have never really interacted with before.”