Community Building And Engagement
Since our founding, NeighborWorks® Southern New Hampshire has been guided by a belief that any troubled neighborhood can improve when there is investment. Improvement does not result solely from physical changes, such as rehabilitated or new buildings, but also comes from investment in social connections with residents developing pride of place through engagement in their neighborhood.
Our Community Building and Engagement program addresses challenges faced in targeted neighborhoods in Manchester and Nashua. We use a strategic, coordinated approach to accessing community needs that also encourages residents to be positive change agents in their neighborhood through involvement.
Efforts to improve neighborhoods include our renter readiness program, neighborhood clean ups, block parties, and the promotion of neighborhood meetings and watch groups. In addition, we work in collaboration with other local agencies to improve the health and well being of neighborhood residents.
We have a long-standing relationship in the City of Manchester starting with our formation. Examples of our community building, and engagement efforts include creating the Center City Neighborhood Committee where residents meet monthly to discuss neighborhood needs and issues. Manchester police officers attend these meetings, building positive working relationships with residents and local business owners. Other positive outcomes have included the creation of 12 murals on Center City buildings that have been riddled with graffiti.
We have facilitated Resident Leadership sessions that encourage and help residents to become community leaders. The creation of the Little Library in the Cedar Street Family Park and the installation of a dog waste dispenser in Enright Park are two examples of positive resident engagement. These types of activities help residents feel empowered, that they have a voice and can bring positive change to their neighborhood. This action encourages neighbors to do the same.
In Nashua, we work in partnership with the offices of the Mayor and Community Development to organize residents around projects or initiatives that impact them directly. Collaborating with the Nashua Police Athletic League, we facilitate a Youth Leadership Academy that encourages positive action by young residents, helping them learn that their age need not inhibit being a change maker in their neighborhood.
We partner with various organizations in celebration of the neighborhood’s diverse culture and encourage community pride. Residents have a meal together with food from local restaurants, interact with local law enforcement and city leaders, and get to know neighbors they may not otherwise meet.