Every summer we reach out to our neighborhood and host the Everett Festival, an afternoon of free food, live music, and activities for over 1,000 children and families. We invite 12 to 15 other organizations to set up booths and provide free clothing, bicycles, books and other resources for our neighbors. It’s one more way we can help strengthen families in Nebraska, and it’s a lot of fun too!
The Everett Festival started in 2006 after Nebraska Family Alliance moved into an older home in the Everett neighborhood in Lincoln, one of the lowest income areas of the city. Problem properties and high crime rates were creating serious problems. We decided to partner with Christ’s Place Church and host an outreach event on our property. We only handed out a few flyers but over 400 of our neighbors attended for an afternoon of music and food that first year.
After that event Paula Rhian of the Everett Neighborhood Association came to us and said the Association would like to partner with us and do it again. Our annual Everett Neighborhood Festival was born!
Since starting the festival the Everett Neighborhood has changed dramatically. Paula said that “the morale of the neighborhood was touched in such a positive way because you brought people together and provided an opportunity for connection.” We also see a number of individuals accept Christ every year.
The Lincoln police have also seen a difference in the neighborhood as a result of the festival. One officer stated that “the Everett Neighborhood Festival has helped to bring about a feeling of neighborhood, encourage single family units to return to the neighborhood and has an influence on the reduced crime problem.” The police tell us the annual festival has results that last all year long because it renews a sense of security and community amongst our neighbors.