[green]: Full of life & vigor [bur-oh]: a town or district [hahrt]: the vital or essential part of anything.
During my time in Graduate School I created this pseudo-company called Greensboro’s Heart. It served as my self-incubator for an ideology that I have (thankfully) been able to continue to explore how to implement. How can we create neighborhoods that promote long-term economic sustainability, encourage positive community engagement, and improve the quality of living for individuals of all backgrounds.
Three main principles of Greensboro’s Heart are/were:
- Community Service – Initiating community service projects that encourage residents to give back to their communities, after all, to whom much is given, much is required.
- Civic Engagement – Creating safe spaces that focus on educating and empowering neighbors to optimize their people power to transform their stomping grounds.
- Social Concierge – Providing innovative management resources that assist in leveraging social capital and allow for a comprehensive integration into local economy.
It was pretty ambitious for a 23 year-old, but I am continuing to work at it. I always remind people that community service and civic engagement are not just a charitable effort, but a way to show gratitude to our neighborhoods. By becoming active participants in our blocks we can educate and empower other members of the community, while also learning a great deal from the people who live next door. Here are some of the projects that I work with in an ongoing basis.
Justice for Juniors
Justice for Juniors is a juvenile justice service program based on the campus of George Washington University. The program focuses on reducing juvenile recidivism in the Washington, DC area through mentorship and interfaith dialogue. Current efforts are concentrated on mentoring youth currently detained in the DC Youth Center and working with students on probation. As a member of the Alumni Advisory Board, I work to recruit new members and develop lesson plans for discussion.
Watershed Stewards Academy
The Watershed Stewards Academy equips and supports community leaders to recognize and address local pollution problems in their nearby streams and rivers. WSA provides community leaders with the tools and resources they need to bring solutions to these problems, restoring their local waterways and the communities they affect. Each repair by each steward adds up in each and every community, with a “flood” of stewards throughout our local watersheds empowered to transform stormwater to clean water, pollution to solution, concerned resident to master steward. (Anacostia Watershed Society)
Project InSPAration is a community sponsored Spa Day benefiting the women of local emergency shelters in the Washington Metropolitan area. This spring the project returns to Shepherd’s Cove emergency shelter in Prince George’s County, Maryland The center is transformed into an oasis of rejuvenation, relaxation, and of course inspiration. Sponsors of Project InSPAration include Manicures –N-Motion, David Rios Salon, Sephora of Annapolis, and Swing Phi Swing.
Clean Up to Green Up
Clean Up to Green Up is a community initiative sponsored by Prince George’s County Government, which encourages residents to join together to complete a number of individual neighborhood projects, such as planting trees, bulbs, and shrubs and cleaning up trash.
Fight Club DC
Fight Club DC is a monthly discussion of contemporary issues in the Washington, DC area. The program serves as an open forum and safe space for discourse. In a recent article analyzing implicit and unconscious bias with regards to race, Gail Christopher, Vice President of Program Strategy for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, concluded, that it is imperative to ” create safe places to discuss and educate people…where we are not blaming and shaming them.” Fight Club DC provides this forum.
Executive Dinner Chats
Held in partnership with The Maryland Chapter of the National Forum for Black Public Administrators, Dinner Chats are opportunities to discuss issues and trends with local decision makers. Attendees enjoy a relaxed environment and one-on-one engagement with city managers, division directors, elected officials, and other public administrators.
25under25 is a month long art exhibition that highlights an emerging group of 25 eclectic and vibrant artists. In addition to a public exhibition, selected artists participate in an intensive Arts Professional Development seminar. The program culiminates with The Wrap Up a community closing reception that encourages individuals to get creative for their overall health and well-being.