Building and Strengthening Neighborhoods and People

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.


Neighborhood Institute Workshop Preview: “Combating Blight in Your Neighborhood” by Peter Duvall

If your neighborhood is looking to address problem and vacant properties, this workshop will help you understand your options. Register for the Neighborhood Institute and help improve the safety and beauty of your block!

GHCC's Revitalization Manager, Peter Duvall, in Harwood.

GHCC’s Neighborhood Revitalization Manager, Peter Duvall.

One of the first impressions of a neighborhood comes from the quality of its housing stock. A block filled with properly maintained, occupied homes is safer and more attractive to potential residents. Neighborhoods throughout Baltimore City deal with a variety of problem properties, including vacant homes, nuisance and criminal properties, houses that are not kept up to expected housing code standards.

Navigating the code enforcement system in Baltimore City can be complex and confusing. For nearly a decade, GHCC’s Neighborhood Revitalization Manager Peter Duvall has supported neighborhood leaders looking to combat blight in their communities. Peter works with residents to identify problem properties and work with City officials to ensure timely code enforcement. In the “Combating Blight in Your Neighborhood” workshop, Peter will focus on how community residents can support enforcing the City’s housing, zoning, building, and related codes to maintain the appearance and value of Baltimore’s neighborhoods.

GHCC’s annual Neighborhood Institute will be held on Saturday, April 18th, 2015 at the Baltimore Design School (1500 Barclay Street). You can register for the event 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.


This is what community building looks like

When local leaders and elected officials gathered to kick-off Community Development Week at GHCC’s 29th Street Community Center on October 20, what they witnessed was community building in action. Delegates Maggie McIntosh and Mary Washington were among the group that toured the Center and met many of the young families who come every week to participate in a Sing-Along Playgroup for babies and toddlers.

“I think the center means a lot for young families and I hope all of them stay in the city because of it,” said Odette Ramos, who coordinates the playgroup as well as leads the Community Development Network of Maryland.

The event received some fantastic coverage in The Baltimore Sun, citing the 29th Street Community Center as an excellent example of how GHCC successfully strengthens neighborhoods. Take a look:

‘Not just buildings’: Center helps develop community

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It looked like a fairly standard play group: a man playing guitar, scattered toys, toddlers yanking purposefully on adult fingers and clothes. But community leaders and public officials gathered Monday at the 29th Street Community Center to show off something else that’s happening: the strengthening of a neighborhood. Read the full article here.

Photo courtesy of the Baltimore Sun.


Homewood Gardners Celebrate a Great Year

Desktop3Started in 2011, Homewood Gardens is a collaborative effort led by community members, GHCC staff, and local stakeholders. This year, the group decided on a new arrangement. In addition to adopted beds, they added common beds that contained the “likes” of Barclay residents: okra, fresh herbs, sweet potatoes and a variety of tomatoes. Common beds are harvested on garden work days and shared with all. This unique approach to gardening led to the Homewood Gardens’ designation as a finalist for best vegetable garden at the annual Charm City Farm and Garden Supper on August 18th. While we did not win, we received an honorable mention for “notable breath of community involvement along with creatively tended plots”. Hats off to Greg Hartzler-Miller for his kale winning a blue ribbon!


Women’s Empowerment Conference comes to Barclay

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On July 24, GHCC and AHC Baltimore held the first Women’s Empowerment Conference.  While the targeted audience was young adult women between the ages of 18 and 35, the event quickly evolved to include elders.  Keynote speaker Dr. Pamela Love, challenged the women to confront life challenges with the help of each other and emphasized that seeking support is not a sign of weakness.

Other speakers, local leaders, and residents participated in sessions on money management, co-parenting, self-esteem, and domestic violence.  There were 27 women in attendance and 18 children.  The response was extremely positive and already there are inquiries regarding the next conference.

Special thanks to Dallas Nicholas Sr. Elementary School for hosting the conference, all of the businesses that provided in-kind support, and the numerous volunteers who helped make this event happen!