2000 Best Practice SymposiumWorkshop Session
Neighborhood Networks Track
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|Resident Participation in Neighborhood Networks
Christine Pelosi, Special Counsel
Betty Milton, Director, Browns Woods Neighborhood Networks Center
Jerry Garcia, ICF Consulting
James Marshall, Atlantic Gardens Learning Center
Jamaal Ramsey, Atlantic Gardens Learning Center
The essential components of building a Neighborhood Networks Center are
designing strategies that involve residents and developing partnerships
among local businesses. This session offered hands on advice from those
currently running centers and shared stories from residents participating
in the centers.
"I am standing here today because of
Atlantic Gardens Learning Center, it is a good thing for the kids, it keeps
the kids educated, it keeps them out of trouble. Once you are around positive
people you become positive," says 22-year old Jamaal Ramsey, a participant
of the Atlantic Gardens Learning Center since 1986.
As an opening to the session, Jerry Garcia,
offered eight essential steps to developing a Neighborhood Networks Center.
Session participants then shared their hardships and triumphs in implementing
and sustaining centers. The eight steps were identified as:
- Get residents involved in the initial planning
phase of the center. Involve the community on the ground level and see
what their needs are.
- Design the center around the local population
by doing surveys and going door to door in the community.
- Build trust and credibility among the people
by involving local block clubs, and neighborhood associations.
- Recruit influential people and groups like
elderly residents who may know their neighbors and local businesses that
have established a presence in the community.
- Identify and target specific populations
like the elderly, and disabled and address their needs in the center by
offering wider screens, more comfortable chairs, and more accessible accommodations.
- Partner with local businesses to provide
gift certificates and other incentives to the residents who visit the center.
- Address any barriers that may inhibit residents
from coming to the center. Offer child care facilities onsite, or longer
hours for working residents.
- Get the word out about the program through
potluck dinners, open houses, or a series of informational meetings. Reach
out to the community through partnerships with local teachers and social
Content Archived: April 20, 2011