trains, planes and automobiles

Last week, seven of us patterson parkers headed to Milwaukee for the annual NeighborWorks Community Leadership Institute conference, paid for by Banner Neighborhoods (thanks Eric!). Four of us took the train to Chicago - a 17 hour trip in and of itself - to take in the countryside and remind ourselves just how darn HUGE and varied our country is.

The conference was fantastic, with workshops, fieldtrips, lectures and action planning. All in all, it taught us all new skills for community organizing and development as well as presented us with different viewpoints and challenges that communities across the nation are facing. It was so inspiring to hear about all the fantastic efforts by volunteers and individuals in hundreds of neighborhoods in America. Take Enderis Park, a neighborhood of 1200 households, that raised over $50,000 in a few years to help revitalize their park, with home tours and other simple endeavors.

Having completed the CLI's conference, our team is now able to earn a grant of $2,000 to help our neighborhood's ongoing efforts to continue growing in a positive direction. As of now, we will be applying for the funds to help us positively market our neighborhood, build a snazzy website, and enhance our home tour (the Enderis Park home tour brought in over $15,000 in three years! Wow!).

Of course we had some fun, too, with a train ride, a day in chicago, 4 days in Milwaukee:


Aaand I had to include the Victoria's Secret Runway wings portraits..

Funny how I'm making the same face in all three of these...I was just that excited!

The most important thing I took away from the conference was that we each do make a differece, that it is the accumulation of minor acts that bring us together in relationships of respect, reciprocity and trust. We can never see any act of kindness as too small, or any gesture of empathy as insignificant.

It all adds up to make our community, our neighborhood, our nation and our world a better place to live.

love k


Erin said...

Is there a company that you are looking to for web design? You might be able to save money by having a freelance designer take it on. My boyfriend is a web designer and does freelance work when the money is right and he's not too busy in his full time job. He also builds sites where the content can then be managed by you (well, not you necessarily, but whoever manages the content). Not volunteering him, but these are things you might want to keep in mind when looking to redesign the website :)

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