Building and Strengthening Neighborhoods and People

Neighborhood Institute 2017

About the Event:

Strong City Baltimore’s Neighborhood Institute is an annual networking and skill-building event that provides community residents, neighborhood leaders, and community development professionals with the training and tools they need to build on assets and tackle challenges big and small. The 10th annual Neighborhood Institute will take place at the Baltimore Design School on Saturday, April 29, 2017 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The theme of the 10th annual Institute is “Strong Roots, Radical Growth: Honoring the Past and Building for the Future”.
The event will be hosted in conjunction with Strong City’s Annual Celebration, which will take place Friday, April 28, 2017 and serve as an opportunity to award the successful efforts of people who have worked to strengthen Baltimore over the past year.
Neighborhood Institute attendees will choose from 36 workshops to bolster their skills to put their passions into action. From engaging youth to fundraising, urban greening, food equity, code enforcement, dismantling racism, and accessing and galvanizing power, our workshops are intended to provide community members with a toolbox of skills to help make Baltimore’s neighborhoods stronger. Workshops will be interactive and share real-world, Baltimore City case examples. 

Check out the interactive schedule below to learn more about last year’s workshops.

 2016 Workshops


We’ve Got The Power Tools For Community Associations Neighborhood Building Blocks Strategic Neighborhood Advocacy Identifying Resources Schools and Community Youth Strengthen Your Skills Greening
10:45-11:45 The Power of Voting Getting More Voices Represented via Focus Groups and Surveys Block Ambassador Training New Strategies for Fighting Problem Liquor Stores Planning a Successful Fundraising Event Race, Class, and Baltimore Schools Talking Trauma Working with Traditional and Social Media Nature Snapshot
1:00-2:00 Power Analysis Setting the Table for Inclusive and Productive Meetings Placemaking: Transforming a Baltimore Alley with Art, Greening, and Gates Building a Coalition Across Divided Neighborhoods Baltimore By the Numbers Data-Driven Community Support for Baltimore Schools Youth Voice and Advocacy Team Management Best Practices Green Spaces: Dinosaurs, Farms & Family Space, Oh My!
2:15-3:15 Moving a Community Issue in Annapolis Deciphering City Commissions Combatting Vacant and Blighted Properties Tactical Urbanism Using Free Mapping Tools Building an Engaged School Team Power of Youth Voice Circle of Voices Let’s Talk Trash

We’ve Got the Power
The Power of Voting
Nyki Robinson (Black Girls Vote) & Charly Carter (Maryland Working Families)
Voter turnout in the last Baltimore election was only 23%, Your vote is a powerful tool – capitalize on it! Learn how education and turnout is key to change and how effective organizations motivate people to take action.

Power Analysis
Lottie Sneed & Celeste Perilla (Strong City Baltimore)
A Power Analysis identifies power relationships within a community. Using this tool, we can identify who has power, how they use it, how the unequal balance of power is impacting the issues they care about, and what kind of power is needed to make the change they want to see. Investigating these issues helps us understand why we must organize; this understanding is critical to creating effective strategies to build the power needed to enact change.

Moving a Community Issue in Annapolis
Mary Washington (Delegate, District 43), Odette Ramos (Community Development Network), Diamonte Brown (Out For Justice, Inc.), Frank Patinella (ACLU MD Education Reform Project)
Explore some of this year’s legislative session hot issues with panelists on the forefront of the action. Advocates will share how they moved their agenda – and Baltimore’s future – forward in Annapolis, including:
– Defending dollars for Baltimore’s schools
– Winning Voting rights for ex-felons
– Key community development issues that will affect resources for Baltimore’s neighborhoods.

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Tools for Community Associations
Getting More Voices Represented Via Focus Groups and Surveys
Meredith Chaiken and Sharicca Boldon (Strong City Baltimore)
Got a great idea and need further input from your community? Focus groups, surveys, and other research tools can engage a wide range of stakeholders and solicit frank, unbiased feedback from across the community. Before you move ahead with an idea that is going to change people’s lives, it’s important to pause and ask – have I really gotten feedback and buy-in from the community I intend to serve? Having more data will help you identify what the community wants and needs. Using the Charles Village 26th Street Playground renovation as an example, we will demonstrate how to engage a broader audience so you can have more inclusive discussions and projects in your own neighborhood.

Setting the Table for Inclusive and Productive Meetings
Hanifah Parker-Morrison, Kate McGrain, and Lily Ross (Strong City Baltimore)
Build leadership skills and local capacity for hosting challenging conversations around social justice, equity, and other core issues in this workshop. With simple techniques based in conversation, listening, and storytelling, the practices are a new way to think, learn and act across groups, interests, and issues. Learn powerful methods based on the Art of Hosting model founded in Denmark to create open and meaningful conversation that leads to commitment and good results.

Deciphering City Commissions
Becky Witt (Community Law Center), Brent Flickinger (Baltimore City Planning Department)
Just what power do the Zoning Board, Liquor Board and Planning Commission have? How are communities able to have a voice in these city entities? That’s exactly what this workshop will help you determine. Panelists, who are involved in working with the Planning Commission, Liquor, and Zoning Boards, will give an overview of these city entities and how best to work with them when a neighborhood issue arises.

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Neighborhood Building Blocks
Block Ambassador Training
Christian Hall, Hanifah Parker-Morrison, & Lottie Sneed (Strong City Baltimore)
Organized blocks are stronger, safer and healthier. Learn how to connect with your neighbors and activate their strengths and passions to benefit your community. In this workshop you’ll learn from expert community organizers about how to build the connections needed to address common quality of life concerns.

Placemaking: Transforming a Baltimore Alley with Art, Greens, and Gates
Robbyn Lewis (Patterson Park Neighborhood Association)
Baltimore alleys are often considered dirty, unsafe, cut off from the psychogeography of “home”. Placemaking in the alley has numerous benefits: it helps reduce problems like trash and crime. Equally important, it expands the boundaries of “home”, marks the alley as a commons, and enlivens social connections among people otherwise cut off from each other. This workshop describes the evolving experience of one Baltimore block in southeast that is combining tactical placemaking with alley gating, greening and art to transform an alley, and build a stronger, healthier community.

Combatting Vacant and Blighted Properties
Peter Duvall (Strong City Baltimore) & Alicia Lucksted (Waverly Improvement Association)
Most every neighborhood has ‘em: dilapidated or vacant properties that look like the Bates Motel! Code enforcement is integral to maintaining safe and healthy neighborhoods. This workshop will focus on how residents can help maintain the appearance and increase value in Baltimore’s neighborhoods by better understanding and utilizing the city’s housing, zoning, and building codes.

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Strategic Neighborhood Advocacy
New Strategies for Fighting Problem Liquor Establishments
Cassie Greisen & Molly Mitchell (JHU)
While Baltimore boasts many great restaurants and bars, neighborhoods are still dealing with many problem liquor stores, taverns and bars. Controversy surrounding the liquor board has people wondering what to do next. Learn about how other cities, including Oakland, California have set up new zoning controls that give citizens more power to regulate alcohol outlets. And learn about new efforts in Baltimore.

Building a Coalition Across Divided Neighborhoods
Christopher Forrest (York Road Partnership) and Karen DeCamp (Strong City Baltimore)
The York Road Partnership (YRP) is an umbrella group that brings people together across a stark race and income divide to work together on quality of life issues with successes tackling large scale vacancy, problem liquor establishments and supporting individual neighborhoods with collective strength. Monthly meetings draw up to 60 participants and it is easily the most diverse community meeting in the city. Learn about the values and methods that drive this positive, tough and almost 20 year old community group.

Tactical Urbanism
Liz Cornish (Bikemore)
Tactical Urbanism takes urban principles like placemaking and traffic calming and creates temporary, low cost projects or installations to demonstrate that principle’s effect. We will discuss examples of projects from throughout the world and here in Baltimore, and break down how to fund and execute similar projects in your own neighborhood. For any community group tired of waiting on long term change to come from the top down, and looking for ways to create overnight improvements from the bottom up, this workshop is for you.

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Identifying Resources
Planning a Successful Fundraising Event
Samantha Flottemesch (Moveable Feast)
This workshop will focus on tips, tricks and guidelines on how to plan, implement and manage a successful fundraising event. The workshop will also touch on working within city or state guidelines, partnering with other organizations and how to use social media to increase publicity of your event.

Baltimore by the Numbers
Seema Iyer (Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance)
In this workshop, participants will learn how to access and use their online Vital Signs and community profile. From this data they will be able to better understand trends in their neighborhood and how to incorporate data into planning for the future. Vital Signs continuously monitors quality of life for Baltimore’s neighborhoods. When indicators are moving in a negative direction, communities have the chance to take immediate and preventative measures to turn the trend around.

Using Free Mapping Tools
Stacy Luskin and Raleigh McCoy (Neighborhood Design Center)
This presentation will include a hands on approach to understanding programs such as Google Fusion, QGis and Story Map to provide the attendees with an insight on how maps can display research in a clear and concise way. Utilizing free mapping tools can help you to organize information such as demographics of an area, location of potential projects, and current community assets, to better make a case for action.

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Schools and Community
Race, Class, and Baltimore Schools
Lisa Bleich (Alliance for Community, Teachers, and Schools)
Join us for an authentic dialogue about the issues that surround race, class and schools. Using the facilitated framework “Courageous Conversations about Race” attendees will be able to articulate different perspectives about race that can move forward without reliance on “blame & shame” and gain a deeper understanding of equity and race through the lens of Baltimore schools.

Data-Driven Community Support for Baltimore Schools
Kimberly Manns (Grade Level Reading Campaign) and Tammie Miller (Baltimore City Public School System)
Educating Baltimore’s youth is a critical challenge for our city, but communities have the power to positively impact the trajectory for students. Using data collected from key indicators of educational attainment, this workshop will show you simple ways every community member can help to change these numbers.

Building an Engaged School Team
Tenne Thrower (Strong City Baltimore), Shana McIver (City Schools Office of Engagement), Larry Schugam (Baltimore Curriculum Project), Pat Kelly (Margaret-Brent Elementary/Middle School)
They say it takes a village, so…Join this panel discussion to learn how you can be part of a team to holistically support our youth’s education. It takes a village to educate a child. All levels – from the administration to parents to the students themselves are needed to ensure educational success.

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Talking Trauma
Dr. Tara Doaty (Sage Wellness)
No one is immune to the impact of trauma – especially youth. Learn best practices to facilitate healing while being sensitive to the traumatic events youth have experienced. The major and minor traumatic events impacting youth disrupt healthy development, relationships, and learning. Trauma informed care works to change this by responding appropriately and productively to all types of trauma.

Youth Voice and Advocacy
Just Kids
This workshop will train youth on how to advocate for youth issues and positively impact their communities. Youth presenters will share their experiences and teach youth participants the power their voice can have. Young people are often considered part of Baltimore’s issues, but not its solutions. Just Kids is working to change that.

Power of Youth Voice
Nehemiah Hall (Ingoma Foundation)
Who do you think you are? Who do people think you are? Others will speak for you if you do not speak for yourself. Learn how to speak up, be taken seriously, and get involved in this for-youth workshop.

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Strengthen Your Skills
Working with Traditional and Social Media
Michael Cross-Barnet (Strong City Baltimore) & Angie Cochrun (Baltimore Bike Party)
Need exposure for your organization or cause? Learn how to connect with local print and online media, radio and TV. Get tips on using Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other forms of social media. Cultivating media skills can gain valuable publicity for your neighborhood or cause, which translates into increased donations; respect from government leaders, institutions, and other nonprofits; and organizational longevity.

Team Management Best Practices
Liz Gomez (Baltimore Corps)
Strengthen your management skills in this workshop by learning how to effectively manage a team, facilitate strategic planning, set realistic goals, engage your team in feedback and have tough conversations. Drawing inspiration and training from The Management Center, Baltimore Corps Staff will share their tips to ensure every staff member and their supervisors are speaking the same language around results, accountability and communication. It has revolutionized the way Baltimore Corps engage with one another and we think it will do the same for you!

Circle of Voices
JC Faulk (An End to Ignorance)
There have been many calls to have authentic conversations about race in Baltimore. Learn how to not only approach the subject, but delve deep and have a meaningful and transformative conversation with your neighbors. Add your voice to the circle and learn the techniques needed to help end racial and social ignorance.

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Nature Snapshot
Katie Lautar (Baltimore Green Space), Matt Baker (UMBC), Amy Gilder-Bussatti (Office of Sustainability), Charlie Murphy (Tree Baltimore)
Baltimore’s got nature! We usually think of the city as its people and built spaces, and maybe its parks. Baltimore, in fact, is a natural environment – one that in many areas supports our health and provides habitat for a wide variety of wildlife (we’re not talking rats). Learn about Baltimore’s – and then learn how you can enjoy and help our trees and natural areas.

Green Spaces: Dinosaurs, Farms & Family Space, Oh My!
Rodette Jones (Filbert Street Garden), Dave Landymore (6th Branch), Warren Shaw (Victorine Q Adams Memorial Garden), Miriam Avins (Baltimore Green Space)
Communities throughout Baltimore transform vacant land into places to play, gather, and grow. Come be inspired! Panelists will tell us how they planned & created open spaces including a playspace with a dinosaur, a memorial garden with room for a stage and community gatherings, an educational food garden with bees, a beautiful rose garden, and others.

Let’s Talk Trash
Jason Hessler (Baltimore City Department of Housing and Community Development), Gerrie Okwesa (Reservoir Hill Association of Neighbors on Newington), Dale Warren Hargrave
Trash, litter, and dumped items are on our streets and in our forest patches. How do neighborhoods cope, without becoming Oscar the Grouch? Hear successful trash-fighting tactics from residents and Baltimore City code enforcement staff who battle trash everyday.