Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Community Leadership Institute Success: the Sabor Del Northside Community Festival

By Sara Varela 
NeighborWorks America
Community Building and Organizing
communications specialist
This entry is reposted from the Leaders for Community blog:

The NeighborWorks America Community Leadership Institute (CLI) is coming up in October, an event where local leaders from throughout the country gather together to learn how to better serve their communities. I have been generating excitement online using a Facebook group and this week I decided to read through the outcomes tagged as CLI projects to share success stories with the group. CLI outcomes are one of my favorite topics to read about, because the ideas for the projects are generated by a team of resident volunteers who attend this national event, and then go home full of energy and make positive changes in their communities. It is resident empowerment at its best.  Avenue Community Development Corporation (Avenue CDC) in Houston, Texas submitted this text and photos. This story is great because it shows what can be accomplished when residents who care partner with organizations that are ready to support them.
“Schools, businesses, artists, community organizations, and residents came together at “Sabor Del Northside” to celebrate the great things in the Northside. What began as a brainstorm from eight resident leaders became reality as more than 1,000 people flocked to Ketelsen Elementary for this vibrant community festival.
Image courtesy of Avenue CDC and Epic Shots Photography

Even before the festival day, the “Sabor Del Northside” planning committee considered the event a success, because the planning process truly brought the community together. More than 50 organizations and businesses signed up to have booths at the festival to showcase their work. Project GRAD hosted a student art show on the next block. Local bands signed up to play, and cheerleaders and dance groups eagerly asked to perform. Parent-teacher organizations sold tacos and drinks to support their schools. Lindale Civic Club brought out children’s games and prizes. Marshall Middle School created elaborate decorations. It seemed that the idea of a festival, located in the heart of the neighborhood, sparked the collective imagination of the community.

Image courtesy of Avenue CDC and Epic Shots Photography

At the festival, it was clear that there is so much to celebrate in the Northside. The festival was also the groundbreaking for the new Ketelsen SPARK Park, a beautiful new community playground and park that will be built this summer.

The festival was funded by a $2,000 NeighborWorks America CLI grant, and including volunteer hours and in-kind donations, leveraged more than $43,000 in resources.”
For additional photos from the Northside neighborhood and the great work they are doing visit their Facebook Page. To stay in touch with Sara Varela, you can use @SaraVarelaCBO on Twitter.