Building and Strengthening Neighborhoods and People

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

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.


GHCC Digest – August 2012

GHCC Welcomes AmeriCorps*VISTA Volunteers

GHCC is very proud to sponsor a team of ten AmeriCorps Volunteers in Service to America (VISTAs) who have been placed at nine non-profit agencies throughout Baltimore City. AmeriCorps*VISTA’s mission is to eradicate poverty in America, and we are pleased to announce that this year’s VISTAs are ready to hit the ground running:

Jasmine Arnold, Community Development VISTA with Project PLASE, will engage the community in providing support and services for homeless citizens and other persons in poverty.

Unchained Talent will host Effie Bourgin as their Arts Integration Coordinator, whose focus will be on building an arts integration framework to help youth graduate from high school on time.

Title I School Parent Organizer Maya Colbert will work for GHCC’s Neighborhood Programs to organize effective parent groups in public schools and develop sustainable systems to aid schools in advocating for themselves.

Kimi Lillig, Workforce Development Coordinator at the Greater Homewood Adult Learning Center, will support an employment initiative that seeks to remove barriers and teach job readiness skills to community residents.

At The Intersection (recently featured in Urbanite magazine), Haley Panneton will serve as the Academic Mentor Coordinator to create a mentoring program that guides students through the college application process.

Pathway Project Coordinator Kerry Robinson at Elev8 Baltimore will work to create a pipeline of supports to move students successfully through high school and on to graduation.

Sarah Schulman, Outreach Associate at Maryland New Directions, will focus on expanding the organization’s capacity to reach more individuals with work-readiness trainings and job placement services.

At the Shepherd’s Clinic, Elizabeth Weber serves as the Volunteer Services Associate recruiting and engaging volunteers to provide quality, comprehensive health care to uninsured adults.

Community Organizer Ben Wallen at the York Road Partnership is working to increase the strength and stability of neighborhoods along this corridor by building upon the capacity of this established organization.

Mikah Zaslow will serve as the Energy Efficiency Education and Outreach Coordinator at the Neighborhood Design Center (NDC), and will work to provide community outreach, education and technical skills to assist residents in saving money and conserving natural resources.

GHCC’s next recruitment cycle will begin in November, so please check back at that time for additional AmeriCorps* VISTA opportunities.

Growth is Visible in Greenmount West

The 400 block of East Lafayette Avenue is a great example of what can be accomplished with the cooperation of community groups and city agencies. GHCC’s Community Revitalization Coordinator, Peter Duvall, is currently working with the New Greenmount West Community Association to determine code enforcement priorities. 403 and 407 East Lafayette Avenue were chosen because of their very poor condition that might endanger the public and also the attached houses. City inspectors and the Code Enforcement Legal Section helped make sure the houses were sold to rehabbers.

After construction started at 403 and 407, the community and Central Baltimore Partnership worked with the Vacants to Value section of Baltimore Housing to make sure that city owned properties at 401 and 405 East Lafayette Avenue were listed for sale. The last time we checked, 401 was under contract and 405 is still for sale. If all goes well, this little corner of Greenmount West will become a solid row of rehabbed homes within a year’s time.

Additionally, construction of the Baltimore Design School is moving along and scheduled for completion in 2013. The Le Bow Building, formerly a clothing factory, had been vacant since 1985 and was rapidly deteriorating. In fact, the street behind the building had to be closed because masonry was falling off the building’s façade. The community, Central Baltimore Partnership, and Baltimore Housing’s Code Enforcement Legal Section pursued the owner in court based on a strategy of vacant property receivership initially suggested by GHCC. The property owner eventually agreed to sell the building in order to allow the Design School project to proceed.

Art in Urban Spaces

GHCC’s Executive Director, Karen Stokes, performed in this year’s Fluid Movement water ballet, Rebel Teen from Starship 12. This is Karen’s third year participating in Fluid Movement, a Baltimore-based performance art group whose events are intended to “encourage a sincere understanding and appreciation for city life and city dwellers.”

The group, whose members come from all over the city, performed in Patterson Park and Druid Hill Park. “The reason I participate,” says Karen, “is because Fluid Movement engages people in a way that helps them both see and appreciate urban public spaces differently.”