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Santa Clara’s National Night Out Brings Community Together

Santa Clara’s National Night Out

For the neighbors on Loyola Drive in Santa Clara, the attendees may change from year to year, but the enjoyment of National Night Out is always there.

Homeowner Noren Helvie and her husband Jim have hosted for more than two decades. Helvie says it’s something that developed out of the blue.

“I’ve been here like since 1996, but I didn’t start it till my girlfriends made me go around to all the neighbors and ‘Oh, we want to do that,’” said Noren Helvie on how it all started.

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This year on Aug. 1, the couple invited neighbors to share in a potluck on their driveway and they received rave reviews.

“All the night out parties in Santa Clara are great, but the best one is the one on Loyola Drive,” said an enthusiastic Judith as she packed up a goodie bag to take home. “Noreen and Jim give it and they are the best hosts ever. Ever. They’re the rock stars of the neighborhood party.”

Word of the party has spread through the years. Both Santa Clara City Council Member Karen Hardy and Santa Clara County Supervisor Susan Ellenberg stopped by to say hello. But the highlight of the night was a visit from the Santa Clara Fire Department (SCFD).

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to meet our neighbors and the kids had fun. Kids really had fun meeting the fire marshals and with the police department,” said Chinta, who attended his first National Night Out in the neighborhood with his family.

But the kids weren’t the only ones who enjoyed the visit. Firefighter Mitch Flaherty has only been with the SCFD for a year, but there were plenty of National Night Out veterans within the department who told him about the event. He says it didn’t disappoint.

“[I’m] having a great time. It’s great to be out in the community and getting to see everybody and all the little kids and show them the fire engine,” said Flaherty.

Flaherty and other SCFD firefighters showed off the truck to kids and a few excited adults as well. They even let the little ones climb up into the engine, supervised of course.

For Waheeda, who moved into the neighborhood five years ago. National Night Out was a terrific opportunity to get to know her neighbors.

“It’s been COVID and everyone was inside their house and we could not meet each other. And it’s a great opportunity for everyone to meet each other right in the neighborhood and be there for each other,” said Waheeda.

National Night Out is an annual, nationwide event that brings together police officers and the community to build camaraderie and foster a sense of community within neighborhoods. It happens on the first Tuesday of every August.

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