Engaging Families for A Better Future
For many families community events are about having fun in the sun, eating sweet candy and enjoying laughs together. As a Community Impact Manager my goal is to enhance those environments by giving people the opportunity to highlight similarities between each other and their ideas. This promotes a sense of community for residents by creating opportunities for them to see themselves as a part of a unit rather than separate individuals.
For many organizations community engagement means making your organization available for people to access. As someone who has studied empowering youth and communities for the last two years, I believe community engagement should bring people together for the purpose of progressing as a unit. To ensure our programs in Midtown and Ellis Heights serve the residents we have to be bold enough to use the information we hear to empower them.
My strategy is to always keep an ear to the ground and give people an opportunity to be heard and united. When the Community Impact Team attends events we connect with people to empower them with knowledge and resources. Through our engagement efforts we’ve learned that residents feel more comfortable in their neighborhood when they know each other. As a result, we connect people to resources and to each other while engaging with them.
As a part of the Strong neighborhood Initiative, the Community Impact Team hosts community conversations and one-on-one interviews with residents to understand the challenges they face, but we also create innovative channels to hear from residents. The photo above show how we create a sense of community while attending events. While at a school block party we used a large notepad to ask children and adults, “What kind of community do you want?” The response was overwhelmingly welcoming and heartfelt. It’s a simple strategy that encourages people to view themselves as a part of a larger group under the umbrella of improving their community.
About Strong Neighborhoods:
Together with neighborhood residents and community partners, United Way is developing a common agenda in both Ellis Heights and Midtown District. A collective impact approach will allow us to assess neighborhood assets and needs, find solutions, and identify metrics in order to evaluate impact. Click here for more information.