Throughout May and June of 2022, we partnered with Dwelling Place to host Building Leaders, Building Communities (BLBC) in the Roosevelt Park neighborhood. This program seeks to bring neighbors together to learn about community organizing and the power of resident leaders. Over the course of eight weeks, neighbors from Roosevelt Park spent time identifying gifts and passions, building leadership skills, and talking about the issues facing their community. Each week, neighbors were able to connect with guest speakers who talked about their involvement in the neighborhood and provided tangible ways for neighbors to make the changes they want to see.
Two Habitat Kent homeowners joined the facilitation team and helped bring neighbors together through this amazing experience. They have been involved from day one helping to plan and lead this experience for their neighbors. Toni, a Plaza Roosevelt homeowner, shared “I joined this to learn about my community and the people in it, but what I got out of it was so much more.”
During the final celebration session, participants, facilitators, and several community members enjoyed a dinner together and each participant received a congratulatory gift box specifically curated for them for their commitment to their community. Several community organizations shared about resources in the community and opportunities for these new leaders to get more involved in the neighborhood – Our Neighborhood Our Health, Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative, and the Roosevelt Park Neighborhood Association. Each participant also had the opportunity to share what they gained from their experience and what changes they want to see or concerns they have about Roosevelt Park, which was especially valuable with Milinda Ysasi, Grand Rapids Second Ward Commissioner, in attendance.
We are so appreciative of the partnership with Dwelling Place and everyone involved, and the opportunity to empower neighbors of Roosevelt Park to take the next step in their leadership journey.