The first cohort of Neighborhood Leaders Academy kicked off their six-week training and grant program on Monday, June 3 at City Hall. Classes will continue every Monday through July 8.
The Neighborhood Leaders Academy was created to identify and cultivate neighborhood leaders. The program will empower leaders throughout Lancaster neighborhoods to encourage one another, identify community problems, and plan projects to remedy the issues. Topics to be covered include the role of local government, what different city departments do, what resources are available to neighborhood leaders, how to engage with neighbors, how to organize a block party, and how to run a meeting.
“The City is very excited to have a dedicated team of neighborhood leaders who can assist us in solving problems, connecting residents to resources, and generally being an advocate for their neighborhoods. This is how we build strong neighborhoods,” said Mayor Danene Sorace.
At the end of the academy, each neighborhood leader will present a neighborhood project proposal and receive $500 of seed funding for the project.
The six-week training was announced in mid-February. Lancaster city residents who have demonstrated a commitment to making a positive impact on their neighborhood through engagement and service were encouraged to apply. 12 applicants were selected. Among the participants, all four quadrants of the city are represented.
Cohort members include Megan Blackmon, Valerie Bradley, Darlene Byrd, Lisa Colon, Emily Files, Priscilla Glover, Kareema Hernandez, Claudia Martinez, Daisy Plaza, Jose Rivera, Tammy Rojas, and Barry Russell.
“I know how to help someone with basic issues, like calling for a trash concern… What I am looking forward to is meeting likeminded neighborhood leaders throughout the city and receiving the tools to engage in my neighborhood,” said Lisa Colon, a resident of N. Prince St.
The course is being facilitated by the department of Neighborhood Engagement and Leadership Lancaster. Funding for this program was provided by the Lancaster County Community Foundations.