Heather McPhail Sridharan: Growing Beyond a Moms’ Group

As a mother of four children under the age of six living in a suburb of San Francisco, Heather McPhail Sridharan developed an informal email list of fellow mothers of young children in the neighborhood, which the mothers used to plan play dates.

Heather McPhail Sridharan
Nextdoor Laurel Grove

Location Ross, CA
Date Started December 9, 2011
Nextdoor Members
361 members; 250 of 714 households
Activity in Last Month 75 posts
Family Husband & four young kids
Favorite Thing About the Laurel Grove Neighborhood
The green, leafy trees and the warm sense of community.

But as someone who was interested in engaging with the broader neighborhood about issues like traffic safety, Heather was frustrated by the fact that there was no easy way for her to communicate with all her neighbors, a problem that really hit home when she tried to organize a campaign to get one side of their main street free of parked cars during daylight hours in order to provide a safe shoulder for pedestrians and cyclists.

“It was incredibly time-consuming and inefficient to go door-to-door with a paper petition trying to get signatures,” recounted Heather. “Ultimately, it was unsuccessful.”

So when Heather learned about Nextdoor, she seized the opportunity. She immediately set up a Nextdoor website for the neighborhood and invited her fellow moms from the email list to join. Next, she and the other mothers divided up the neighborhood into blocks and assigned one person to be responsible for distributing flyers to each house on the block.

These efforts immediately generated the first 50-75 members of Nextdoor Laurel Grove. Then, when a wave of burglaries struck the normally crime-free neighborhood, the value of having a way to communicate with their neighbors became immediately apparent, and even more new members joined Nextdoor.

Today Nextdoor Laurel Grove has more than 350 members with a few more joining each week. Nextdoor is being used in Laurel Grove for everything from organizing a Halloween parade to alerting the neighborhood about suspicious solicitors.

According to Heather, “It’s been so gratifying to feel like our neighborhood is really connected,  particularly across multi-generational lines. It’s a completely different place and feeling than it was a year ago, and I’m happy that my kids will reap the benefits of having neighbors looking after them!”

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