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This edition is sponsored by Raleigh Convergence

Hi y'all,

Unless you're one of the rare Raleigh natives who never left, at some point you were discovering or rediscovering Raleigh.

A place doesn't begin to feel like home after a certain number of months or years.

I'm convinced it's a feeling, and that feeling is different for everyone. 

But there's also some science behind it. When people join neighborhood groups or feel connected to their community, they're more likely to be civically engaged.

When people feel like a place is home, they're more likely to work to make it a better place. Engaged residents experience a slew of benefits, including better health.

So why not make it easier for the 60+ people moving to Wake County every day to fast track their community onboarding?

That's part of the philosophy behind The New Neighbor Project.

Whether you're an existing and established neighbor or you still feel like you're new to a community after a couple years, The New Neighbor Project has a way for you to be neighborly.

Today, I'll share who will be behind the project for the communities of Cary, Knightdale, Cary and Raleigh at large, with more to come.

To neighbors supporting neighbors,
Sarah Day

📸: Devin Desjarlais Photography
Message from Raleigh Convergence:
Sponsorships are available for The New Neighbor Project!

Support this community-focused project with a sponsorship of newsletters for Raleigh, Knightdale, Southeast Raleigh and Cary. 
Get the details

You may remember the announcement in late January about The New Neighbor Project.

It’s a grant-funded idea from this local community journalism startup, Raleigh Convergence, connecting newcomers to four communities in Wake County: Knightdale, Cary, Southeast Raleigh and Raleigh at large.

The project is now available for pre-launch signups for the newsletters and Facebook group join requests in advance of Monday's launch.

The New Neighbor Project email newsletter series will deliver community guides to your inbox, written by a community ambassador.

These community ambassadors are already leaders in their community. With this project, the community ambassadors create content for the emailed guides, moderate discussions online and help people meet in person. 

When you scroll down, you'll see these are people who know and love their communities. Now they're community ambassadors with The New Neighbor Project.

Sign up + learn more
Southeast Raleigh Community Ambassador: Troy Johnson 

Troy is an author, community leader, inspirational speaker, and visionary of nonprofit YM4C Enterprises.

Troy resides in Southeast Raleigh with his wife and three children. Troy has served as an ambassador for Southeast Raleigh and the residents of the Rock Quarry Corridor years before this role. He finds fulfillment in serving the young men of his community through mentoring, social skills and physical activity programs.

Serving in this capacity, Troy has built strong relationships throughout all parts of the RDU giving him an opportunity to bring all people together; building this thing we call commUNITY.

Pre-launch signups:
[Southeast Raleigh's New Neighbor Project newsletters]
[Southeast Raleigh Facebook Group]
Cary Community Ambassador: Maggie Mae Whittemore

Maggie describes herself as “just a northern girl navigating the southern world.” After moving from Maine to North Carolina after graduating from college in 2017 with a degree in Media Studies, Digital Arts and Journalism, she made her new home in the Town of Cary. This transition was made easy by those in her new neighborhood that welcomed her with open arms.

Throughout 2019, Maggie represented Cary in two different statewide pageants, holding the title of Miss Cary for both. With this title, she made it her goal to become involved through volunteering to give back to and meet the people she was representing. She attended over 15 events throughout the year including celebrations like the Pimento Cheese Festival, the Cary Road Race, and the Bond Park Pumpkin Flotilla.

Pre-launch signups:
[Cary's New Neighbor Project newsletters]
[Cary's Facebook Group]
Knightdale Community Ambassador: Arlene Brown

Arlene is a dedicated and relatable professional with a passion for ensuring others are seen, heard, valued and understood. With an affinity for strategic planning, storytelling and community engagement, she is truly the sum of all her experiences. 

As a resident of Knightdale, she is inspired by all the town has to offer. From partnering with the Crosby-Garfield Center as a Community Leadership Action Team member to being the Interim Board Chair of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of the Triangle, (YNPN Triangle NC), she has thick ties to many sources of servant leadership. What’s even better is she wants to share it all with you!

Arlene, her husband Richard and their sweet dog Stella are excited to welcome newcomers to the great Raleigh area, and we’d like to invite you to please come be our neighbor!

Pre-launch signups:
[Knightdale's New Neighbor Project newsletters]
[Knightdale's Facebook Group]
Raleigh at large Community Ambassador: Corey Kaminski

Corey is a Raleigh native with more than 10 years of non-profit, real estate and restaurant hospitality experience in the Triangle. After attending UNC-Wilmington, Corey returned to Raleigh to work for The Glenwood Agency running their website and partnering with downtown Raleigh businesses to promote all the fun new happenings in the area. 

She has volunteered for countless non-profit organizations, including the City of Raleigh Museum, American Heart Association, the Downtown Raleigh Advocates and Change the Triangle. Corey also worked for Lennar Homes as their digital marketing specialist, helping potential homeowners find their dream home through their website, social media channels and on-site events. 

She currently works for Tabletop Media Group as their Director of Sales & Marketing, helping restaurants and local businesses grow their business through social media and public relations. Corey and her husband, Joe, recently welcomed a daughter, Harper, into their family. They enjoy attending Raleigh food, music and art festivals, as well as exploring the Greenway with their two dogs, Sandy and Bailey. Corey is excited to meet new Raleigh residents and help them to explore her hometown!

Pre-launch signups:
[Raleigh's New Neighbor Project newsletters]
[Raleigh's Facebook Group]
Raleigh area represents on the James Beard semifinalist list

In Raleigh and Wake County, semifinalists include Angus Barn for Outstanding Hospitality; Krystle Swenson of Crawford & Son for Outstanding Pastry Chef; Death & Taxes for Outstanding Wine Program; Cheetie Kumar of Garland in Raleigh and Steven Devereaux Greene, Herons at The Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary for Best Chef Southeast. [James Beard]

There are two contested races for Wake County Commissioner on the primary ballot, here's what to know. The News & Observer's Anna Johnson explains how it works with a Q&A with the candidates. [News & Observer

There's an effort to increase the number of North Carolinians with post-secondary degrees or other credentials by 2 million people by 2030. Efforts related to this attainment goal are beginning to roll out, including apprenticeship programs. [EdNC]


Thrive NC festival tickets go on sale at 9 a.m. These usually go fast and include some of North Carolina's top culinary talent for the food. Tickets support organizations fighting food insecurity.  [Thrive NC]

NC IDEA grants, which help young companies advance and startups scale are open now until Monday. [NC IDEA]

A few Democratic presidential candidates are coming to town this week, including Joe Biden Saturday in Raleigh, Amy Klobuchar today in Raleigh and Cary and Pete Buttigieg Sunday in Raleigh. [WRAL]

Tips or topics you're curious about? Tap reply or email
☑️ Early voting ends Saturday at 3 p.m. for the March 3 primary. You can also register and vote at the same time during early voting. You can go to any of these sites. Learn more here in our guide to voting [Raleigh Convergence

☑️ Give input on the plan that shapes part of Southeast Raleigh. The Olde East Area, which Raleigh planning defines in this map, includes Chavis Park, Tarboro Road Park and part of New Bern Avenue. [take the survey]

☑️ Give input on future parks work you'd like to see: Attend one of the upcoming public meetings and give your input on what a possible Raleigh parks bond should support. There is another meeting today (Thursday) and two in March. [info]
Thanks for reading! Please share what you think about this edition.


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