'Neighbor to Neighbor' is today in WorthingtonWhether you’re looking for a fun family activity or just an excuse to get out of the house this weekend, the Nobles County Integration Collaborative will host the second annual Neighbor to Neighbor picnic from 6-8 p.m. today at Chautauqua Park in Worthington.
By: Angela Lowe, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Whether you’re looking for a fun family activity or just an excuse to get out of the house this weekend, the Nobles County Integration Collaborative will host the second annual Neighbor to Neighbor picnic from 6-8 p.m. today at Chautauqua Park in Worthington.
The program aims to bring awareness to the wide range of diversity in the Worthington area through a community-wide event — a traditional American picnic with an ethnic twist.
The Neighbor to Neighbor program encourages families to reach out to their neighbors and to share their different cultures with one another. Participants have the opportunity to explore cross-culturally through family gatherings, games and activities planned by program members.
Families of all ages and ethnic backgrounds are encouraged to gather in the park for food, fun and fellowship. This year, the event will feature a picnic dinner, songs, games for the whole family and a marshmallow roast.
The key to the Neighbor to Neighbor program is the personal relationships between community members, said Chad Neuberger, the founder of Neighbor to Neighbor.
“I feel the program helps members gain a better understanding of each other’s cultures and creates new friendships,” Neuberger said.
The event is inspired by the diversity of the Worthington community and the desire to have young children learn foreign languages, Neuberger explained.
“It’s a great opportunity to get people together and have fun,” Neuberger said.
The program initially started as a way for families to learn about the different ethnicities in the area by being paired into groups with other families, but the event has grown in size and interest since the kickoff of the event last June.
One other successful element of the Neighbor to Neighbor program is the monthly cooking classes. The classes are from September through May at the United Methodist Church in Worthington. Program members volunteer their time to show others how to prepare different ethnic dishes. Some of the past highlights from the cooking classes have been Lao spring rolls, an Arab hot dish, Chinese egg rolls and Mexican stuffed peppers. While parents are attending the cooking class, kids are able to create ethnic crafts, play games and listen to stories, all within the same premises of the cooking classes.
As the program continues to grow, Neuberger is constantly finding new ways to enhance the program and add to the cultural benefits. Neuberger mentioned that the program will host a night at the pool later this summer as one of its activities.
The program hopes to create lasting relationships with those people who participate in the events sponsored by Neighbor to Neighbor.
“I’ve formed some tremendous relationships as a result of Neighbor to Neighbor,” Neuberger said.
The Neighbor to Neighbor summer party is free of charge and open to the public. If anyone is unsure about the language barriers, Neuberger confirmed there will be translators on hand to help with the different ethnic languages present at the event.