2017 Neighborhood Leadership Academy Info

The Far Northwest Neighborhood Association shows off their 2016 achievements.

Do you want to become more involved in your South Bend neighborhood? Find out how, and learn how NRC programs like Neighborhood Leadership Academy can help provide you with tools to help you be successful.

The NLA, which is open to all South Bend residents, is an interactive course on neighborhood community building offered in collaboration with South Bend Heritage.

In fall 2017, the public Neighborhood Leadership Academy (NLA) will return with some changes designed to improve both the experience and the outcomes for the participating residents and neighborhood groups.

Neighbors interested in learning more about the 2017 NLA and the process for applying should contact Diana at NRC at 574.287.0425 or nrcneighbors@gmail.com And watch this space for details!

At NRC, we believe there are many leaders in South Bend waiting to be identified and given the tools to create positive change in their neighborhoods. Empowered residents join neighborhood associations, create community gardens, volunteer in the community, plan block parties, and appreciate the value of a connected community, and help foster the skills and talents in others.

In 2016, we ran a pilot program which took the NLA directly to two neighborhood associations: the Far Northwest Neighborhood Association and the Southeast Organized Area Residents (SOAR).  By targeting specific neighborhoods and assembling a group with shared interests around a common project, each association grew together and was empowered to take action in their neighborhood.  The projects provided a specific and tangible way for participants to apply knowledge gained from the NLA classroom sessions, and to assist them with the engagement and recruitment of additional neighbors to help grow their neighborhood associations.

The NLA was able to provide some seed money for their projects thanks to a grant from the Pokagon Foundation.  NRC also provided continued and intensified coaching and other resource support for the groups during the six months following the conclusion of the formal training program.

The classroom sessions provided training in running good meetings, recruiting members, group dynamics, project planning, and more.  We also introduced a method called Photovoice, which provides each participant with the use of a camera so they can take pictures of both what they like and what they would like to see changed in their neighborhoods. Then they share as a group and use the photos to analyze and reflect on their neighborhood’s strengths and challenges.

The resulting large and small group discussions around the photographs taken by the NLA participants promote critical dialogue and knowledge about both personal and community issues. Photovoice was made possible through a University of Notre Dame Ganey Seed Grant awarded in 2013 and the participation of graduate students from the Notre Dame Eck Institute of Global Health.

In addition to the Pokagon Fund and the Ganey grant, support for this program came through CDBG funds awarded by the City of South Bend and through the South Bend Brew Werks Community Partners program.