Community Engagement at the Neighborhood Developers
Community engagement is a central piece of The Neighborhood Developers philosophy, building relationships, elevating leadership, and then supporting residents to collectively reach their financial and personal goals. Sharon Fosbury, The Neighborhood Developer’s Community Engagement Manager puts it best, saying: “Community Engagement is the power that exists within a community. Neighborhood safety and neighborhood transformation lie in the hands of community members, and it is only when the community is engaged or mobilized that true community stability and sustainability is possible.”
Events are one of the key ways to foster a sense of community. On October 4th, The Neighborhood Developers hosted the Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration at 4 Gerrish Ave, where people from across the community expressed their passion for their heritage through arts, music, and crafts. Tables with national flags and unique artifacts were placed around the building, as people mingled, sharing a bounty of food and stories. Bringing over 75 adults and children together in one space to express their unique and shared backgrounds was an exciting experience. Jose Iraheta, one of the organizers of the event, says that “ The Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration is a moment where everyone can celebrate both cultural differences and shared values; it is a moment where people can rejoice and share their culture and know it will be welcomed.”
Community engagement finds an especially meaningful place with the tenants who live at The Neighborhood Developers’ properties. Affordable housing is not enough on its own. Instead, we try our best to ensure that residents are engaged, and we bring events to their place of living. These events focus on health, wellness, and connection to the community. On October 3rd, Officer Joanne O’Brien spoke at the Spencer Green Apartments at “Coffee With a Cop”. Talking with residents in an informal setting about the support services that the police department offers provides a greater feeling of safety in their local environment. Through activities such as this, we try to connect individuals to activities within their vicinity and cultivate trust.
We will bring our experience to the rest of Massachusetts, as members of our staff attend the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations Convention. By strategizing with other agencies around the Boston Metro area as to how we can provide the best services to the community, we look forward to continuing our contributions. If you are interested in getting more involved in your neighborhood, come by our office at 4 Gerrish Ave, your local government office, or one of many local agencies that can direct you towards fulfilling volunteer work or community engagement.