Monday, January 23, 2012

A Recipe for Success: Creating Community Leaders from Scratch

By Sara Varela 
Community Building and Organizing communications specialist, NeighborWorks America

My blog on Leaders for Communities focuses on projects within the national Community Building and Organizing network. This post, on resident leadership development, highlights the activities of CB&O members offering training to promote and build community leaders across the country.

This Wednesday, January 25, Neighborhood Housing Services of South Florida will be hosting a WebEX on how they put together their local Community Leadership Institute (CLI). A great article in the Miami Herald highlighted the CLI graduation ceremony recently. By developing resident leaders organizations like NHS of South Florida contribute to the overall stability of the communities they serve.

NHS of South Florida Community Leadership Institute
graduates celebrate.
Benji Power, NHS of South Florida’s director of Community Building and Organizing, said "Our overall goal is to help those residents make their neighborhood a place that they not only want to choose to stay in and live in, but hopefully other people will as well."

Finding the time to volunteer and be involved can be overwhelming. Resident leadership development programs help break down the enormous task of getting involved. I applaud the graduates of this leadership program and appreciate the efforts of NHS of South Florida for promoting resident leadership development.

NeighborWorks Lincoln, in Nebraska, also hosted a Community Engagement Initiative (CEI) using the “Building Leaders, Building Communities” curriculum created by NeighborWorks America. Residents in this program attend classes once a month for six months. NeighborWorks Lincoln provides a generous $2,500 to each team to complete their project.

And finally, Neighborhood Housing Services of Silicon Valley, in San Jose, California, held a Neighborhood Development Training conference (NDTC) that attracted 200 participants last fall. The NDTC featured free workshops taught by instructors who have experience improving local communities.

NHS of South Florida will be giving instruction how to build community leaders during this Wednesday’s WebEx  at 3 p.m. Participants will be encouraged to share experiences with resident leadership. Are you thinking of hosting or creating a leadership development program for residents in your community? Join NHS of South Florida this week and find out where to start.