Moving to a new place can be exciting. But without information about local government and businesses, it can also be very confusing.
To help new Gilbert residents become more familiar with the area, the town’s Neighborhood Services Department will host a Newcomers’ Welcome Social on Saturday at Maricopa County’s Southeast Regional Library. The program is in its second year.
In addition to hearing talks on a range of topics, from homeowners associations to parks, each attendee receives a bag containing pamphlets on local services.
However, the social aspect of the meeting is still the most important; lectures are kept to a minimum to allow mingling.
"It’s really supposed to allow newcomers to meet each other," said Helga Stafford, a specialist in the Neighborhood Services Department. "We want to have that small-town welcoming feel."
Jill Humpherys attended a Newcomers’ Welcome Social last year, when she moved from Chandler to Gilbert.
"I was interested in seeing what was available and to kind of get a feel for the town," Humpherys said. "I learned a lot from it."
Since attending the social, Humpherys has made it a point to become involved in her community. When the town organized a meeting in her neighborhood to discuss development, she was the only one there. A new playground will be installed in the neighborhood park this summer, thanks in part to Humpherys’ leadership.
"That’s the thing about building community," Stafford said. "You end up having a nicer place to live."
New to Gilbert?
What: Newcomers’ Welcome Social When: 9:30 to 11 a.m. Saturday
Where: Maricopa County’s Southeast Regional Library, 775 N. Greenfield Road, Gilbert Cost: Free
Information: (480) 503-6767
In other communities
The Newcomers’ Welcome Social is for Gilbert residents only, but there are resources for people who are new to other East Valley communities:
• Friends and Neighbors, owned by Mesa resident Charleen Cramer, serves residents of east Mesa, Gilbert and Chandler. With the help of three employees, Cramer visits as many as 275 new homeowners each month with a basket full of free gifts and information. To schedule a visit with Friends and Neighbors, call (480) 807-4447.
• Valley Welcome visits about 100 new residents each month in Scottsdale and parts of Phoenix. The company, owned by Maxine Nemiroff of Scottsdale, will celebrate its first year of business in May. Like Friends and Neighbors, Valley Welcome’s mission is to provide information about local businesses and government. To schedule a visit with Valley Welcome, call (480) 502-8060.