This week I’ve felt like a baby bird being pushed out of the nest to learn to fly. Our Youth Program Manager, Brittany, has officially completed her last week at ETSS. I have been passed on all reports, past agendas, schedules, email contacts and responsibility for the Youth Summit.
So far things have been going well, I led my very first Summit meeting along with a quick tour of ODU yesterday. I was happily surprised to hear from all workshop instructors either at the meeting or via email to work out the details of their rooms. The meeting went smooth and I surprised to hear myself giving answers to questions from the partners and workshop leaders. I guess you never know how knowledgeable you are about something until you’re bombed with questions about every detail.
Today I was able to be part of a manager’s meeting and the wedgewood community inevitably became a discussion topic. Like I’ve said before, this area is one of the most violent areas in Columbus and is only growing worse. Over 80% of the wedgewood residents are refugees from Somalia. Of the 2,500 residents living there, 2,000 are youth living in poverty.Weapons, violence, and gangs have become a larger issue and ETSS is meeting with other community organizations to brainstorm a solution to these issues next Thursday. The proposed solution will be to turn an abandoned middle school, that is within walking distance of the apartments, into a community center.Most of today I have been researching center’s from inner Toledo that I know have had an impact on the community. I’m gathering information about how the building were obtained, different ways of paying to expenses whether it be grants, donations, sponsors, or partnerships with benefit corporations. I’ve also tracked down my capstone paper that specifically speaks on the benefits on after-school programs in low-income areas.
My goal is to show the board how beneficial a mere after-school program can be to a community, let alone a whole community center. I’m hoping that by showing the board the different ways other community centers have grown, it will motivate and push them to advocate for creating this community center in wedgewood.
Stay tuned for updates on this and wish me luck 🙂