Building Hope in the City hosts annual resident-led community projects
Closing out the summer season, residents of the Stockyard and Clark-Fulton neighborhoods in Cleveland, Ohio, gathered last month to celebrate the second annual Rally Cleveland event, or Rally CLE. CLINIC affiliate, Building Hope in the City, or BHITC, hosts the event in partnership with local, faith-based organizations and nonprofits. The initiative promotes the dignity of all people by promoting the gospel that Jesus came humbly and without pretense. Rally CLE aims to promote community leadership, empower residents, and create a welcoming and inclusive community, through a series of resident-led projects proposed by residents and their neighbors. Celebrating for the second year in a row, the event has been successful in the community.
Building Hope in the City began its community development efforts several years ago, advocating for affordable housing in neighborhoods on the west side, supporting local initiatives for schools, and hosting prayer walks. However, Rally CLE aims to flip the traditional service delivery model of offering services to the community without their input first, and instead, actively seeks buy-in and participation from the community. Community Development and Communications Coordinator Anthony Giambroni quickly learned that residents had many ideas to enrich their community and wanted to be involved in the process of creating change.
This year, Rally CLE was happy to support the first refugee-led resident project. A member of the Congolese community proposed building a community garden to grow crops typically grown in Congo. His daughter helped translate his plans into English, and they submitted their proposal to BHITC. Giambroni recalled that the gentlemen expressed that everyone, not just the Congolese community, should benefit from community garden. “This speaks volumes because it shows that he is more open and feels comfortable and welcomed in his community to be so inviting of others,” said Giambroni. Giambroni’s previous experience working with the refugee community has come with challenges due to mistrust. It is common for refugees to be wary of those outside their community, Giambroni explained. With his neighbors, volunteers, and BHITC staff, they built the garden together and will assist in any future upkeep.
Resident projects often vary and can be quick projects that are finished in a day or long-term projects that are finished over time. This year Giambroni received ten proposals, an increase from the seven he received the first year and saw more group-led proposals. Through the help of donations from churchesResident projects often vary and can be quick projects that are finished in a day or long-term projects that are finished over time. This year Giambroni received ten proposals, an increase from the seven he received the first year and saw more group-led proposals. Through the help of donations from churches who sponsor the events and assist residents with project coordination, all proposals are eligible to receive up to $2,000 to carry out project activities. Previous resident projects included community clean-ups, mural paintings, pocket parks for young children, a mobile grill that residents borrowed from each other when they wanted to have a cookout, and bloc parties. who sponsor the events and assist residents with project coordination, all proposals are eligible to receive up to $2,000 to carry out project activities.
The Rally CLE demonstrates the importance and power local communities have in promoting immigrant integration. CLINIC applauds Building Hope in the City for hosting an annual event that brings together everyone from the community to hear their voices, share their vision and goals for their community, and agree to accomplish it together.
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