Neighborhood Institute Workshop Preview: “It’s More Than Just a Newsletter” by Kathy Nelson

If you are trying to improve your community’s communication methods, “It’s More Than Just a Newsletter” led by Kathy Nelson, is for you. To participate in this workshop, and many more, register for the 2015 Neighborhood Institute here.

Union SqWell-connected neighborhoods require strong and varied forms of communication. Neighborhood communication methods can be as unique as Baltimore’s neighborhoods, from multipage printed newsletters to NextDoor accounts and social media. Each of these techniques has advantages and disadvantages, and all need to be tailored to support your community. In the Union Square neighborhood, leaders have taken the talents of their residents to create a strong and stable communication structure, based around a regular printed newsletter.

Led by Union Square resident and broadcast professional Kathy Nelson, this workshop will offer a panel discussion outlining the steps in creating this newsletter, including layout, printing, and distribution. The workshop will also include tips for managing your neighborhood’s social media and online communications. If you are trying to improve your community’s communication methods, this workshop is for you.

GHCC’s annual Neighborhood Institute will be held on Saturday, April 18th, 2015 at the Baltimore Design School (1500 Barclay Street). Register by following this link. This year, the Institute will feature 36 workshops on a variety of topics relevant to community issues and City-wide opportunities. Check back here regularly for a preview of some of the workshops and presenters you can expect to see at this year’s Institute.

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Neighborhood Institute Workshop Preview: “Orchards and Food Forests” by Ben Howard

If you are looking for a new and creative use for vacant space in your neighborhood, “Orchards and Food Forests: the Whats, Hows, and Whys” led by Ben Howard will be perfect for you. To participate for this workshop, and many others, register for the 2015 Neighborhood Institute here.

Ben Howard of the Baltimore Orchard Project

Ben Howard of the Baltimore Orchard Project

When neighborhoods think about starting a garden on a piece of local land, they normally consider a community garden, where residents grow their own vegetables, herbs, and flowers for individual or communal harvest. This model of urban gardening works great, but a new idea is popping up all across America: urban orchards. Gardeners in urban orchards plant trees that grow fruits to be distributed to neighbors in need throughout a community. Fruit trees create a new dynamic from traditional gardens, providing spaces where neighbors can meet, rest, and seek refuge from the rush of the day. They bring pleasant blossoms and aromas in the spring, shade and comfort in the summer and food and fun in the fall.

In this workshop, Ben Howard from the Baltimore Orchard Project will discuss the advantages of urban orchards and how they can be incorporated alongside annual food gardens. He will also give expert knowledge on how to plan and plant an orchard in your community.

GHCC’s annual Neighborhood Institute will be held on Saturday, April 18th, 2015 at the Baltimore Design School (1500 Barclay Street). To register for the event, follow this link. This year, the Institute will feature 36 workshops on a variety of topics relevant community issues and City-wide opportunities. Check back here regularly for a preview of some of the workshops and presenters you can expect to see at this year’s Institute.

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Neighborhood Institute Workshop Preview: “Internet for All” by Philip Spevak

If you are interested in bringing high-speed, low-cost internet to all Baltimore residents, “Internet for All” led by Philip Spevak, this workshop is for you! To participate in this workshop, and many others, register for the 2015 Neighborhood Institute here.

Phil Spevak of the Baltimore Broadband Coalition (photo by Nicole Martin, courtesy of the Baltimore Messenger).

Phil Spevak of the Baltimore Broadband Coalition (photo by Nicole Martin, courtesy of the Baltimore Messenger).

The internet is an integral part in our lives. On a neighborhood level, it provides access to information that can accelerate community development and improve our local economy. On an individual level, internet connections are vital for finding jobs and researching key support structures. Unfortunately, internet connectivity in Baltimore is slower and more expensive than many other networks in US cities; many of our neighbors cannot afford internet access needed to improve their quality of life. For these reasons, several neighborhoods have begun working together to help bring internet competition to Baltimore.

The Baltimore Broadband Coalition provides a case study in successful city-wide advocacy. This workshop will expand your understanding of the broadband issue in your neighborhood and share how you can get involved with the Coalition. In addition, the presentation will share tips and tricks for creating a sustainable, city-wide advocacy movement.

GHCC’s annual Neighborhood Institute will be held on Saturday, April 18th, 2015 at the Baltimore Design School (1500 Barclay Street). To register for the event, follow this link. This year, the Institute will feature 36 workshops on a variety of topics relevant community issues and City-wide opportunities. Check back here regularly for a preview of some of the workshops and presenters you can expect to see at this year’s Institute.

 

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Neighborhood Institute Workshop Preview: “Design in Detail” by Laura Wheaton

If you are looking to plan a long-term community project of any size, the “Design in Detail” workshop led by Laura Wheaton, Program Manager at the Neighborhood Design Center, is for you! To participate in this workshop, and many more, register for the 2015 Neighborhood Institute here.

One of the more difficult meetings a neighborhood can hold is a visioning meeting. How do you create a community vision that is both aspirational and concrete? How do you plan both short-term and long-term? How do you create consensus around your vision? These are problems all neighborhoods struggle with, whether you are trying to plan a block project or create a development plan for your area. At this year’s Neighborhood Institute, this workshop will provide valuable tips for constructing a group vision.
Neighborhood Design Center Staff Portraits
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The Neighborhood Design Center (NDC) provides pro-bono design services for community-initiated projects by leveraging the support of volunteer professionals. They coordinate and facilitate Visioning Workshops designed to bring community members together and construct a vision for their planning project, whether it is an edible garden, new building, or neighborhood master plan. Their workshop will share the best practices of coordinating and facilitating your own visioning process, including logistics, sample exercises, and facilitation tips. It will also discuss how and when communities can access pro-bono design assistance from NDC.

GHCC’s annual Neighborhood Institute will be held on Saturday, April 18th, 2015 at the Baltimore Design School (1500 Barclay Street). To register for the event, follow this link. This year, the Institute will feature 36 workshops on a variety of topics relevant to community issues and City-wide opportunities. Check back here regularly for a preview of some of the workshops and presenters you can expect to see at this year’s Institute.

 

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AmeriCorps*VISTA Spotlight: Dominiece Johnson

GHCC-sponsored VISTA Dominiece, serving with My Sister’s Circle in Baltimore, shares about what led her to service and what she’s learned since.

1st Day Photo2My name is Dominiece and I am currently serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA with My Sister’s Circle (MSC). MSC is a long-term mentoring organization that works with at-risk middle and high school girls in Baltimore. MSC strives to provide opportunities and experiences that empower our girls to define success on their own terms, and ultimately become self-sufficient young women.

My story begins at Howard University.  While at Howard, I discovered my love for serving others through the work I was able to do with my sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. I was fortunate enough to participate in many service projects, but one of my proudest accomplishments was co- chairing Stop the Violence, an educational rally for middle school students in the district.  It was at this time that I recognized my passion for working with youth and knew that I always wanted to serve youth in some capacity.

039After graduating from Howard, I went on to pursue a career in retail working for Macy’s corporate office in New York City.  After two years, I left Macy’s and ventured to China to teach English as a second language. My days in the fashion industry were short lived because my passion and purpose involved helping others.

Upon my return from China, I learned about AmeriCorps VISTA from a previous colleague and friend who was serving in Tennessee. Immediately after I learned of the VISTA position as Program Coordinator with MSC, I knew this was where I was meant to be. I was instantly drawn to the organization because I so strongly believed in their mission. I could relate to the young women they served and deeply believed that my experiences coupled with life’s lessons, meant that I had so much to offer.

Dominece- My Sister's CircleAs Program Coordinator, I developed MSC’s first-ever after school program for sixth grade students. I have built relationships with my students and their families, school staff, volunteers. I have assisted with planning monthly events and have become somewhat of a social media ‘guru’.  I have gained so much experience in my current role. Greatest of all and certainly the most rewarding part of my position has been the opportunity to build relationships with the girls. One could say that it was love at first sight; we were instantly drawn to each other. They have changed my trajectory in more ways than I could have ever imagined. I have been inspired and forever changed.

While this position has been more rewarding than I ever anticipated, it has not been without its challenges. I have been called to expand my personal beliefs in order to understand the challenges and circumstances of the girls that I am serving. One of the hardest things to do in this role has been to share my personal values without projecting my own cultural beliefs onto my students. Through it all, I am so thankful to be an AmeriCorps VISTA. I have been tested, yet inspired.  Best of all, I have had the opportunity to work alongside many amazing individuals, all committed to improving the lives of others.

 

Each year, GHCC brings together a cohort of emerging nonprofit leaders who are passionate about service and community development to serve as AmeriCorps VISTA members.  GHCC-sponsored AmeriCorps VISTA members receive a solid foundation of skills they can use as a springboard for careers in government, non-profits, education, and much more. To learn about applying for the 2015-2016 GHCC VISTA Cohort, click here.

 

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Neighborhood Institute Workshop Preview: “Beautify Your Block” with Kari Snyder

If you and your neighbors are looking to improve your block, ‘Beautify Your Block’ by Kari Snyder of Southeast CDC will give you some creative ideas for a new project! Register for this workshop, and many more, here.

Have you always imagined making improvements on your block? Maybe you would like to see more trees or planters on the street to enhance the physical beauty of your block. Maybe you would like to see everyone on your block get new porch lights to improve your neighborhood’s safety and walkability. Whatever your idea might be, block projects are a simple way to improve the physical appeal of your block and create a more unified appearance, all while building a stronger community.

Kari Snyder of Southeast CDC (left) with a Southeast Baltimore resident.

Kari Snyder of Southeast CDC (left) with a Southeast Baltimore resident.

Block projects might seem like a straightforward way to make physical improvements to your neighborhood, but they also represent a mechanism for bringing together neighbors and beginning to explore complicated community issues. In the workshop, Kari Snyder of Southeast CDC will share some successful project implemented in the Highlandtown and Patterson Park neighborhoods. The presentation will explore the successes and challenges of these projects and resources that you can use for projects in your community. Kari will share what types of block projects have worked in the past, how to avoid common pitfalls, and how to find funding for your project.

GHCC’s annual Neighborhood Institute will be held on Saturday, April 18th, 2015 at the Baltimore Design School (1500 Barclay Street). To register for the event, follow this link. This year, the Institute will feature 36 workshops on a variety of topics relevant to community issues and City-wide opportunities. Check back here regularly for a preview of some of the workshops and presenters you can expect to see at this year’s Institute.

 

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Neighborhood Institute Workshop Preview: “Bringing Families to Baltimore” by Steven Gondol and Annie Milli

If your neighborhood is looking to better attract young families and new homeowners, ‘Bringing Families to Baltimore’ by Steve Gondol and Annie Milli of Live Baltimore is the workshop for you. To attend this workshop, and many others, register here.

Across Baltimore’s many diverse neighborhoods, attracting and retaining young families is incredibly important. Young families are more likely to invest and work to improve their communities, but even the most loyal, active families will pack up and move elsewhere in the City, or to the County, if they feel their neighborhood is not meeting all of their needs.

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Steve Gondol, Executive Director of Live Baltimore.

 

Neighborhoods that are losing families and young homeowners are not typically healthy, growing neighborhoods. Live Baltimore’s Way to Stay family retention program has analyzed Baltimore’s neighborhoods, looking at factors that are most likely to attract and retain young families. These selections are based on feedback and criteria from real City families to identify “Five Star Family Neighborhoods”. In their workshop, Steve Gondol and Annie Millli of Live Baltimore will share the Way to Stay selection criteria and how you can improve your standing as a family-friendly neighborhood. Check out this link to see if your community is already a Five Star Neighborhood. During their workshop, Steve and Annie will share how neighborhoods can market themselves to families and improve their Way to Stay ranking.

Many thanks to Live Baltimore for sponsoring the 2015 Neighborhood Institute. LiveBaltimore_logo_tagline_2013_rgb_hires

GHCC’s annual Neighborhood Institute will beheld on Saturday, April 18th, 2015 at the Baltimore Design School (1500 Barclay Street). To register for the event, follow this link. This year, the Institute will feature 36 workshops on a variety of topics relevant to community issues and City-wide opportunities. Check back here regularly for a preview of some of the workshops and presenters you can expect to see at this year’s Institute.

 

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Neighborhood Institute Workshop Preview: “Come Love a Forest Patch” by Katie Lautar

If you are looking to protect the natural beauty and biodiversity of your neighborhood, ‘Come Love a Forest Patch’ would be perfect for you! To participate in this workshop, and others, register for the 2015 Neighborhood Institute here.

Even in Baltimore’s urban environment, many large forest patches exist. In fact, 34% of Baltimore’s tree canopy comes from forest patches – areas with over 10,000 square feet of tree canopy. These patches provide important ecosystem and wildlife benefits while contributing to the diversity and beauty of Baltimore City. Forest patches exist all over the City, sometimes hidden in the alleys behind our main streets – there is probably one in your neighborhood already!

Katie Lautar of Baltimore Green Space (photo courtesy of Baltimore Green Space).

Katie Lautar of Baltimore Green Space (photo courtesy of Baltimore Green Space).

As part of our Greening track, we are excited to partner with Baltimore Green Space to offer the “Come Love a Forest Patch” workshop at the 2015 Neighborhood Institute. This presentation will be led by Katie Lautar of Baltimore Green Space and include presentations from forest stewards from Govans Urban Forest, Springfield Woods, and Wilson Woods. Come learn about forest patches, discuss their environmental and social value, and share the basics of forest care in a patch near you. The forest patch stewards will also share stories of caring for their forests.

GHCC’s annual Neighborhood Institute will be held on Saturday, April 18th, 2015 at the Baltimore Design School (1500 Barclay Street). To register for the event, follow this link. This year, the Institute will feature 36 workshops on a variety of topics relevant to community issues and City-wide opportunities. Check back here regularly for a preview of some of the workshops and presenters you can expect to see at this year’s Institute.

 

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Neighborhood Institute Workshop Preview: “Baltimore by the Numbers” by Seema Iyer

“Baltimore by the Numbers” led by Seema Iyer is always one of the most popular offerings at the Neighborhood Institute – if you are looking for more data to help plan for your community, this workshop is for you! You can register for the 2015 Neighborhood Institute here.

Demographics can tell us a lot about neighborhoods. They can help neighborhood leaders formulate plans to better improve quality of life and market their community to new residents. However, with so many potential data points to look at, how can leaders best plan and analyze the health of their neighborhood?

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BNIA's Seem Iyer (Photo courtesy of BNIA)

BNIA’s Seem Iyer(Photo courtesy of BNIA)

Vital Signs is a project of the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance (BNIA) that continuously monitors quality of life for Baltimore’s neighborhoods. Because of BNIA, when indicators are moving in a negative direction, communities have the chance to take immediate, hopefully preventative, measures to turn the trend around. All of the indicators from previous Vital Signs are online for everyone to see and download for use in a variety of innovative ways. Community Profiles are also available through BNIA for each of the City’s 55 Communities that provide quick access to data specific to each neighborhood’s needs. In this workshop, Seema Iyer of the Jacob France Institute at the University of Baltimore will walk participants through how to access their community profile, understand trends in their neighborhood and how to incorporate data into planning for the future.

GHCC’s annual Neighborhood Institute will be held on Saturday, April 18th, 2015 at the Baltimore Design School (1500 Barclay Street). To register for the event, follow this link. This year, the Institute will feature 36 workshops on a variety of topics relevant to community issues and City-wide opportunities. Check back here regularly for a preview of some of the workshops and presenters you can expect to see at this year’s Institute.

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Neighborhood Institute Workshop Preview: “Community Organizing for Change” by Kristerfer Burnett

If you and your neighbors are looking for ways to tackle tough community issues, this workshop will better equip you to implement a powerful collective action campaign. To attend this workshop, and others, register for the 2015 Neighborhood Institute here.

A unified community voice results in sustainable and meaningful change. When residents gather to take on a common issue, they can use their collective power to improve their neighborhood. All across Baltimore City, neighbors are working to improve the services, physical aesthetic, and resident opportunities in their community. The most successful neighborhoods use community organizing techniques to gather, collaborate, and advocate for neighborhood revitalization.

Kris Burnett (photo courtesy of the Baltimore Social Innovation Journal)

Kris Burnett (photo courtesy of the Baltimore Social Innovation Journal)

In Edmondson Village, Kris Burnett has used a range of organizing strategies to unite residents and improve a local historic shopping center. With the formation of Neighbors Without Borders of Greater Southwest Baltimore (NWBGSB), Kris and other residents have been able to transcend traditional neighborhood boundaries to unite around a common cause. In his workshop “Community Organizing for Change,” Kris will share the ongoing story of his Edmondson Village campaign. This case study will highlight tips and tricks for other communities to use including social media campaigns, direct action, community meetings, and more.

GHCC’s annual Neighborhood Institute will be held on Saturday, April 18th, 2015 at the Baltimore Design School (1500 Barclay Street). To register for the event, follow this link. This year, the Institute will feature 36 workshops on a variety of topics relevant to community issues and City-wide opportunities. Check back here regularly for a preview of some of the workshops and presenters you can expect to see at this year’s Institute.

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