Smiles and applause abounded on Saturday, June 2nd, as Southside-based community development organization Layton Boulevard West Neighbors (LBWN) recognized fifteen residents of the Silver City, Burnham Park, Layton Park, and Pulaski Park neighborhoods for completing their inaugural seven week Neighbors in Action (NIA) leadership program.
NIA prepares neighbors to make a positive impact in their community. Each of the seven sessions was facilitated by an expert on a particular topic and designed to transfer knowledge and skills to neighbors. Topics included project planning and development, civic participation and affecting public policy, and public speaking and effective communications, among others.
NIA participants were joined by family and friends on Saturday at 3519 W National Ave (formerly Our Daily Salt building) to receive a certificate of completion and to be honored for their commitment to becoming leaders for positive change in their communities.
LBWN Community Outreach Manager Jonatan Zuñiga thanked all of the facilitators and talked about the power that these neighbors have, saying, “When you multiply dissatisfaction times the vision for change times taking first steps, you will always overcome the resistance to change. And I have no doubt, because I have seen that in all of you, that this group can make some changes in this neighborhood and overcome the resistance to those changes.”
Micaela Flores of LISC Milwaukee congratulated the graduates and said of the program, “LISC is pleased to fund this unique program to help residents become stronger leaders, and to strengthen your community. LISC believes that when residents have power, their neighborhoods are healthier and more vibrant.”
One notable aspect of this program is that LBWN provided Spanish interpreting services at every session, helping overcome the language barrier that many residents often face.
The NIA resident group plans to continue to meet regularly to work on implementing the ideas that each participant has for their community.
The Neighbors in Action program was funded by the Zilber Family Foundation and LISC Milwaukee and supported by the Milwaukee Police Department – District 2.