A Little Greeting from Your New Urban Fellow

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Hello everyone! My name is Gaby Abalo. I am the new Urban Fellow with the Neighborhood Resource Team. I am a Michigan State University fifth year student studying Social Relations and Policy with a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies. Through my studies, I have come to understand how much local citizens work with their leaders to affect neighborhood and thus city dynamics. My studies especially examined the disparity that occurs when there’s a discrepancy in voicing the different needs of locals to their leaders.

This understanding motivated my interest to join the Neighborhood Resource Team. Over the next few months you’ll probably see me around the neighborhoods and city learning how to help engage Lansing’s communities.  I will be at the Love Lansing Celebration next Tuesday, May 30 to start this process. I am excited to further familiarize myself with the communities of Lansing to help develop and strengthen the community resources needed, see some of you around!

Thank You!

Hello and Happy Monday, neighbors!

Today is my last blog post as a member of the Neighborhood Resource Team. On Thursday I will finish up my time as an Urban Fellow, and can’t express enough my gratitude for the past seven months.

During my time as an Urban Fellow, I have learned so much about our beautiful city, and about all of you- dedicated people who work to improve your neighborhoods. It has been inspiring to attend LiNCS meetings and hear about your struggles and victories in community organizing, fun to partake in events such as community clean-ups and Walking Wednesdays

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A picture from one of my first community events- a Walking Wednesday in Baker Neighborhood 

,and enlightening to learn about all the initiatives our city has to offer (who knew you could get your taxes done by the Financial Empowerment Center?!).

I’m excited to move on in my professional career, and to take all that I have learned to cities throughout my life.

Thank you for being such an awesome group to serve, and (as always) HAPPY NEIGHBORING!

– Erika Campbell

 

Southwest Cleanup

This Saturday, as part of MSU’s Global Day of service, 35 volunteers came from Michigan State to the Southwest Lansing neighborhood. The students came eager to work, and along with community partners, started on two cleanup project.

The first project was a Southwest Action Group (SWAG)-partnered cleanup of the Pleasant Grove/Holmes intersection. Volunteers swept the dirt off of the sidewalk, collected trash, and raked leaves away from the storm drains.

 

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Cleanup around the Southwest Businesses.
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Volunteers remove bagfuls of trash dumped behind the SWAG businesses.
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A volunteer uses a leaf blower to remove gravel and leaves from the sidewalk.

The second project was led by the South Side Community Coalition (SSCC), and involved clearing brush from the vacant lot behind the SSCC building, in preparation for future lot activation.

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Brush clearing behind the SSCC building.
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Removal of a hanging limb.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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450 cubic feet of brush was cleared from the lot

Here are some metrics from the event:

  • Time: 10:00AM – 3:00PM
  • Number of Volunteers: 38
  • Total Volunteer Hours: 190
  • Bags of Trash: 24
  • Bags of Yard Waste: 3
  • Cubic  Feet of Brush Removed: 450

Thank you to MSU, the Ingham County Treasurer’s Office, 1910 Meat Market, BW Hair Fashions, Center of the Plate, the SSCC, and the Greater Lansing Housing Coalition for everything they did to make this event a success!

 

 

Community Event Reminders

Happy Monday Neighbors!

There are a few events coming up in the next few days and weeks that are interesting opportunities to think about the development of other neighborhoods, and how your own neighborhood can expand.

Wednesday, April 12th: Walking Wednesday 1:30 pm Churchill Downs (meet at Wainwright)

  • Come see a Walking Wednesday in action! If you haven’t already, contact Erika Campbell (ECampbell@lansingmi.gov) to schedule one for your neighborhood

Tuesday, April 18th: Four Corners Housing Summit (only for residents of the Four Corners Neighborhoods)

  • We are hoping to replicate this type of Summit in other neighborhoods, and if you’d like to hear a recap of what happens, and to see if this would be right for your neighborhood, please attend April LiNCS

Thursday, April 27th: LiNCS 6:00pm at the Neighborhood Empowerment Center (600 W. Maple)

Friday, April 28th: LiNCS 8:00am and 12:00-noon at the Neighborhood Empowerment Center (600 W. Maple)

  • During LiNCS, we will be joined by Four Corners neighbors to recap the Housing Summit, and to discuss opportunity for this event in other neighborhoods.

As always, feel free to contact anyone on the Neighborhood Resource Team for assistance, and Happy Neighboring!

Succession Planning for Neighborhood Organizations

One of the biggest challenges that neighborhood organizations have is what to do when the president or other integral member leaves. Organizations that are not prepared for a leadership shift run the risk of falling apart. It is important to start planning beforehand, by preparing your organization for whatever happens in the future.

1. Note potential leadership within your organization.

Get to know your organization members, and keep them involved. If members are given responsibility (managing events, keeping contact lists, etc.) you may notice potential leadership skills in them. They may also be more willing to step into a larger position in the future.

2. Continuously recruit new members.

An organization works best when it has a mix of old and new members working together. An organization that recruits new members and gives them a voice has a better chance of finding new leaders than one that closes itself off from new people or opinions.

3. Stay Organized

Make sure that you have clear documentation of finances, events, and contacts, to make sure nothing important slips through the cracks during a leadership change. Being organized will make it easier for a new leader to continue work that was administered by their predecessor.

4. Address underlying conflicts

Oftentimes conflicts can erupt amidst a leadership change, which puts the organization at risk. Make sure you address conflicts among members when they first come up, instead of letting them simmer under the surface. Be sure that all sides of an argument are being heard.

5. Define a role

If you know a member will be leaving the organization in the near future, make sure they leave clear guidelines for the next person to follow. This could be a summary of their role, lessons learned, or even a number to reach if they have any questions.

 

Reporting Public Service Issues

Good afternoon, neighbors!

With the spring weather comes great days of sunshine,  but also lots of rain, sleet, winds, and storms. As this kind of weather occurs, drains can become plugged and start to flood streets and sidewalks, potholes can form, and you might be in need of some help.

We’d like to make you aware of some steps you can take to report these issues.

A public services issue is any issue pertaining to streets, sewers, and sidewalks (public property in your neighborhood). For example, if you see a pothole needing repair, a street flooding, or tree branches that have fallen onto the sidewalk or street, these are public service issues.

To report these issues, please call the Public Services Department through the following information:

Public Service General Office:

517-483- 4455

publicservice@lansingmi.gov

http://lansingmi.gov/397/Public-Service

120 E. Shiawasee St.

24/7 Maintenance Line: 517-483- 4161.

Lansing Connect: 

Lansing Connect is an online and smart phone application that enables to identify quality of life and environmental issues and report them to the appropriate department for quick resolution. Once you have submitted an issue, you track resolution efforts within Lansing Connect or via the web.

Lansing Connect is free to download and use (http://lansingmi.gov/1371/Lansing-Connect)

1. Launch the app on your mobile phone

2. Click “report an issue” on the home screen

3. Snap a picture, video or sound clip

4. Click the “use / attach / escape” button depending on your phone

5. Select an issue category

6. Fill out the details regarding the issue

7. Click “submit”

As always, feel free to contact the Neighborhood Resource Team with any questions you may have.

Happy Neighboring!

12 Tips for Being a Good Community Leader

Qualities of a Good Leader

Regardless of your style or skills, there are some ingredients that can contribute significantly to effective leadership:

  1. Be inclusive: It’s important to include all of your neighbors, including
    • Residents from all economic, religious, ethnic background
    • Other “neighbors” like faith communities, schools, and businesses who play important roles in the neighborhood and have valuable leadership skills, resources, and networks of contacts to offer.
  1. Cultivate networks of relationships: Relationships do not exist in a vacuum. One person is connected through relationship to many others. Cultivating a relationship with that person, therefore, is like connecting with the entire “network” of relationships they have already developed. Cultivating networks of relationships, then, can be about building relationships with others who have specific expertise that might also benefit your neighborhood.
  1. Delegate: Share responsibility (either through forming committees or asking individuals to take responsibility) for the major neighborhood functions, including
    • Meetings (logistics, agendas, minutes
    • Finances, communication (phone calls, newsletter, flyers, etc.
    • Point of contact (both within the neighborhood and with the City, County, the LPD, and other important bodies
    • social gatherings
    • neighborhood project
    • other activities.
  1. Assist others to develop their leadership skills: Help people discover skills in service to the neighborhood’s needs—cultivate the next generation of leadership. One good way of assisting others to develop their leadership skills is to release control over how others approach the tasks they’ve volunteered for. That is, avoid micromanaging!
  1. Communicate, particularly with those who don’t attend meetings and events. Be sure to share information both about neighborhood activities and other events/activities of interest. Useful skills include dialogue (as opposed to debate), listening (as opposed to lecturing), and transparency (as opposed to hoarding information and/or being secretive).
  1. Provide a vision that will keep people engaged. Remind people of the big picture and long- term goals. Always have a vision-driven purpose for having a meeting.
  1. Know your and your neighborhood’s assets and limits. Build on your strengths and don’t exceed your limitations.
  1. Be a learner. Acknowledge both your successes and your mistakes and use them all as ways to improve your leadership skills.
  1. Appreciate and celebrate: Thank people for the work they do and celebrate your neighborhood achievements.
  1. Motivate yourself and others: When times are tough or slow you have to be able to motivate yourself and others to push through.
  1. Relate to others: Leaders have to present themselves in a way people can relate to and be considerate of others. This means not engaging in gossip and respecting other people’s privacy.
  1. Collaborate: Work with other neighborhood groups and community leaders on tasks and issues in order to get the most information and create strong neighborhood connections.