Skip to main content

Bringing New Ideas back to the Neighborhoods

In September I attended my second Regional Neighborhood Network Conference. For those who are unfamiliar with it, the RNNC is a three day conference where community organizers, neighborhood group members, and many others attend workshops together and exchange ideas to bring back to our respective cities, neighborhoods, and communities.

This year, many individuals from Decatur attended the event, including myself and the director of Dove’s Community Services program, Francie Johnson. Seventeen neighborhood volunteers from seven local neighborhood groups joined us on our voyage to Richmond, Indiana. For those who’ve never been there, Richmond, Indiana, is a city of about 38,000 people. There are many successful individually owned businesses and individuals that rolled out the metaphorical red carpet for the 300 some attendees, offering discounted meals and welcoming us with signs and friendly smiles.
This year’s conference offered a wide variety of workshops for people to attend -- everything from the basics of organizing a neighborhood group to talking to your local politicians, to how some communities are using art as an agent of change, to literacy, health and wellness, and hunger issues facing our neighborhoods.

In addition to networking and sharing a wealth of information, each year there is a recipient of the Stella Stewart Award, which is an honor given to one who has gone well above and beyond in the neighborhood, proving themselves to be a true leader. There were only four nominees this year, and one was from Decatur. Though she didn’t win the overall regional title, she is still Decatur’s Stella Stewart Award winner. Her name is Consuelo Cruz, and she’s from the neighborhood group called Southside Improvement Association (SIA).

Because of her excellent work in her own neighborhood, as well as her collaboration with Decatur Public Schools and Richland Community College that resulted in a dual credit African American studies course, and also because of her creation of the successful “20 Women” program that pairs young women with successful professional women in a mentoring situation, she has more than earned the nomination from our city.

For those interested in attending the next Regional Neighborhood Networking Conference, you need to get involved in your neighborhood group! If one doesn’t exist where you live, we can help you get one started. Just give us a call at 428-6616 and ask for Francie or Angie.


Angie Williams



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Good Mate

After spending several months on the back half of 2016 talking about abusive behaviors, we decided to take a different spin going into 2017.You see we spent a long time slowly working through and examining different forms and subtypes of abuse including the many forms of emotional abuse.This gave a very realistic look at some of the more “incognito” forms of violence that abusers get away with such as blaming, confusing behavior, corruption, destructive criticism, intimidation, isolation, manipulation, and even obsessive behavior.What we realized in closing out the year was that we had developed a very strong sense of what kind of traits and behaviors that we don’t want in our lives.On the flip side, we hadn’t really answered the question of what we do want in our lives.
It was a striking realization that while some victims of abuse started with a very pleasant life full of positive relationships, others have not been so fortunate.For those folks stuck in a life time of abusive relatio…

Letter from the Executive Director of Dove, Inc.: Coordinating efforts to address unmet needs and social injustices.

Dear Friends,
The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and spring rains have started to fall.This time of refreshing the world is a time for use to reflect and re-center and think about how we live in the world through faith.One of the best ways we can do this is to join our voices, talents and funds with others in support of the less fortunate.Dove works to coordinate our efforts to make sure that people in our area who are suffering have a place to go and people who care.Together our voices mean a great deal to a person in need.
We need you to also use your voice in service as an advocate for a resolution to the State Budget Impasse.Dove continues to feel the effects of the State’s failure to appropriate for domestic violence programming in the “Stop-gap” budget for FY17.In non-payment for contracts to Dove the State of Illinois is already nearing the quarter million-dollar mark as of March.Using your voice to put pressure on our State elected officials to resolve their disputes so…

Spring Cleaning?

During the dark, cold days of January----possibly inspired by the “clean slate” of a brand new year-----I undertook a major clean-up of my office.Evidently, when I started this job many years ago, I thought every piece of paper I received was sacred.I was rapidly running out of storage space, so I began the process of cleaning, sorting, shredding and tossing.As the job progressed, a few things became apparent.First, I was probably about one ream of paper away from a visit from the nice folks at the Hoarders TV show.I had a lot of moments asking………Why did I save that?.....How long has that law been obsolete?……Whatever were you thinking when you saved that???As I sorted, cleaned, tossed and carted off to the dumpster, I had an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and a new sense of organization.Coming to the office, opening a desk drawer or file drawer became a much more pleasant experience.
As I reflected on how cathartic this experience was and the benefits I continued to reap, it occu…