Just over two months ago, we moved into our new space next door to St. Joseph’s church. This has been extremely exciting! We now have a kitchen where we can cook, an entire room just for our library, and, overall, a significantly larger space to house all of the many people who are coming in and out of the center every day. This newer space creates many incredible opportunities for engagement in the greater community.
Above: Bonner Leaders and volunteers meeting in our Yonni Chapman Peace and Justice Library
We created this Celebrating Home Team to ensure that we have a wonderful work space for our interns and staff, to develop strategies for how to make this a community den and finally, to craft ways to ensure that our staff and interns are still involved in our larger home, the neighborhood.
We have started building a resource hub in the Jackson Center for community members. This will include a vendor’s list of competent people that folks in the neighborhood can use if they have an issue or are in need of a repair at their house. We already have a community calendar that is displayed in our main room where we can document different events going on at the Jackson Center or elsewhere in the area. We will have a bulletin board where flyers can be posted for events, and finally we will have information for different organizations and services that can be helpful to community members.
Since this neighborhood is our home, we also want to ensure we are celebrating the community as well. We are planning to have block by block events so that long-term residents and students can get out and about and meet each other. This will be a good opportunity for students to meet other neighbors to understand the immense history that exists here. What better way is there to build relationships than over food!
In order to continue crafting this as a welcoming space in the community, we have already had a game night between the Jackson Center and Sacrificial Poets, one of our partner organizations. We are also planning a dinner with different neighborhood allies. Keith Edwards, a long-time leader in the neighborhood, is organizing a day to cook with us and other neighbors to celebrate the work we are doing and successes we have had as a neighborhood. We are also going to have a dinner to honor the people at Heavenly Groceries who come in everyday to work hard and provide food to thousands of families every month. This is all possible because of our new space and we hope more people will continue to come and visit!!!