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Monday, March 25, 2013

2013 RLP #1

Resident Leaders


Stephen discusses the art of leadership.
What a great first class! This past Tuesday evening marked the first of five sessions that kick-started our spring 2013 Resident Leadership Program. With 21 present attendees and two more set to join in, we have a great group of participants.


Krikko drew the group's ideas of what a thriving community should look like.
NHS of New Haven Executive Director, Jim Paley, set the stage for a night of engaging discussion by introducing the “Art and Science of Leadership” seminar. He provided some of his own insight on the importance and necessity for resident engagement. The rest of the evening was led by our Community Building Specialist, Stephen Cremin-Endes, whose facilitation generated a range of captivating exercises and discussions. Participants shared their own experiences of community engagement with each other and with the whole group. Some very interesting stories were exchanged, including the story of Rosa Parks’ own participation in a citizen-focused education program through the Highlander Center.



Members of this year’s Resident Leadership Program call all sorts of Connecticut neighborhoods home. We loved learning some of the reasons why these residents decided to participate in this program, including: the desire to better lead in all neighborhoods, not just one’s own; the urge to practice speaking up; and the drive to develop better community interactions. During one exercise, participants discussed key leadership skills: positive influence, engagement, effective delegation, the ability to spearhead a collaborative effort, listening to the needs of others, innovative ways to engage a community, improved speaking skills, taking initiative, and harmonizing the various skills of a group. Another recurring topic of discussion was how to discover other people’s talents and how to help them hone and develop those talents.


The bar has certainly been set high for the remaining classes! Session two will take place on Tuesday, April 2nd and will explore the topic of “Mapping Community Assets”. Participants will have the opportunity to meet Leslie Radcliffe, a homeowner and resident of The Hill, along with two of our VISTA members, Kelsey and Daniella, who will facilitate activities and discussion.

We can't wait to see everyone for the next round of our workshop series!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Community Connections

Community Connections

For the past four years, NHS’ work has greatly benefited from an extraordinary partnership with the national service program AmeriCorps/VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America), dedicated to fighting poverty in the United States. The VISTA members and associates who have served with NHS of New Haven have proven themselves to be an invaluable asset to the organization. AmeriCorps VISTA members provide direct organizational impact while spearheading community outreach campaigns, assisting in planning our affordable housing projects, developing curriculum, conducting research on properties for inclusion in a historic district, and even helping to enhance the design of NHS’ website.



As NHS’ Executive Director, Jim Paley has long viewed the VISTAs who volunteer their service as indispensable members of his team. VISTA members and associates are fully integrated into the staff, expanding the capacity of NHS to develop and implement new programs and services. Jim’s team approach allows the VISTAs to develop hands-on skills while they absorb as much knowledge and experience as they desire within the department to which they are assigned. Jim values the personal growth of the VISTAs as much as he appreciates the expansion of NHS’ organizational capacity that the VISTAs have helped the organization to achieve. 


On March 15, Jim was selected as the 2013 Community Connector, as part of AmeriCorps Alums “Champions in Service” awards in conjunction with AmeriCorps Week. Due to his exemplary support of the VISTA program and his dedication to providing meaningful service experiences for the VISTAs at NHS, Jim was presented with his award at a gathering of AmeriCorps alumni.

As part of a coterie of VISTAs-turned-full-time-staffers, I can attest to the wonderful service experience provided to me by NHS. Never once did I feel like a mere intern; I was a welcome presence whose work held value for both the organization and the community.

Congrats, Jim! You deserve it.
-Colleen Trompeter, Public Relations Coordinator, née VISTA


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Preparations

Preparations

Tomorrow, bright and early, our Rehab Department (and others on staff) will embark for Boston, where the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA) is hosting its Building Energy conference. The conference offers a trade show, educational seminars, and networking opportunities for professionals focused on the creation of sustainable buildings and environments.

In other preparations, VISTA member Kelsey showed off her paint-mixing skills as the Community Building & Organizing Department readies itself for a volunteer event this Sunday. Sixteen Yale students from the Yale Chaplaincy Office will get a brief tour of our campus before walking over to Orchard Street for a painting project.


This isn't Kelsey's first time mixing paint.


Looking good, Kels!
We're looking forward to our volunteer event this Sunday - hopefully it will be our first semi-warm event of the year!

Check back later for a recap of the Building Energy Conference.