Within the past year there has been many happenings in community development in Long Beach, so here are just a few highlights that Kingdom Causes Long Beach has been involved in. I was able to work in Linden Avenue between Market and South Street as an AmeriCorps worker. Through the Atlantic Corridor Project, I trained two interns from Victory Outreach and St. Athanasius Church in Asset Based Community Development. Together we surveyed the neighborhood to find out the top concerns of the neighborhood.
At the first neighborhood meeting we reported back to the neighbors and placed in their hands what they would like to do about things. The neighbors decided to attract more neighbors to the meetings by hosting a neighborhood clean up. The eighth district, Rae Gaeblich’s, office sponsored the neighborhood clean up. Several neighbors donated their time, treasure, touch, and talent into the clean up. The clean up started at eight o’clock and by 9:30 AM the industrial sized dumpster was filled to the top. It was encouraging to see neighbors come together for the betterment of their neighborhood.
In Downtown Long Beach, Somatra (another AmeriCorps worker) has been convening a group of neighbors along 9th Street between Atlantic Avenue and Martin L. King Jr Street. Neighbors met, many for the first time, during barbecues at a local church parking lot. From there the neighbors starting a neighborhood meeting. Together they decided to work on neighborhood safety and wanted to become a registered neighborhood watch block. First they had their local beat police officer share about the neighborhood. Just recently, Lisa, coordinator of neighborhood watch for Long Beach, orientated the neighbors on neighborhood watch. The neighborhood is finally an official registered neighborhood watch block!
These are just a few stories from the two neighborhood Somatra and I are working in. There are so many more stories of individuals and relationships developing through our involvement with these neighborhoods. Community development is difficult work. There is no set structure, hours, or boundaries because you work where you live. It takes lots of time, commitment and love. But it is so rewarding! The relationships that I have built with my neighbors is irreplaceable. The growth within my neighbors is encouraging to witness. I get to share life with them and see them take responsibility and ownership of their neighborhood. They have great commitment and care for the community. Sadly my time with AmeriCorps is coming to an end, but my time within my community is just beginning.
Kingdom Causes Long Beach is looking for an individual who would like to work with a neighborhood in North Long Beach as an AmeriCorps worker. If you have a heart for community development, bringing neighbors together to work toward a better community, then please contact us! To learn more please see the job description at the Kingdom Causes Long Beach website.