Fact: You learn something new every day.
As I was growing up, my parents liked to remind me of this old adage, and my time as a fellow at Columbus Housing Partnership has certainly proved it to be true. Sometimes it’s hard to believe how much I’ve learned in six weeks; I can now confidently discuss tax credits and unemployment statistics, and I’ve gained invaluable insights into professional office life, the housing industry in Columbus, and the many inequities that pose problems for homeowners and job seekers. I have even found myself discussing mortgage loans at the dinner table!
During our last learning session, we talked about the role of individuals as it relates to funding, but my fellowship has proved that personal relationships are essential in all areas of non-profit work. For example, take North of Broad (lovingly nicknamed NoBo), a community in the King Lincoln district, just east of Downtown. CHP has been reaching out to residents in the area and building and renovating homes in an effort to revitalize the neighborhood. In addition to these homes (one of which has platinum LEED certification!), CHP staff members have helped create a neighborhood association and a thriving community garden. By ensuring that residents of the area are involved in their neighborhood, CHP has created a more organic and ultimately more successful revitalization effort. The success of NoBo has depended on the cultivation of personal relationships with residents of the area, as well as with members of city government, donors, and other organizations, and it’s a lesson I’ll remember long after I finish my fellowship. (Shameless plug: If you want to read more about NoBo, check out the website here!)
Six weeks into my fellowship (where has the time gone?!), I’m still impressed every day by the dedication, innovation, and passion of the CHP staff. I love the creativity of non-profits, as well as the opportunity to see the difference you are making in someone’s life. I’m having a great experience at CHP, and I’m learning more every day! I can’t wait to see what the next few weeks bring!
Christina – Columbus Housing Partnership