Jenn Schaub, Neighborhood Revitalization Specialist at Dwelling Place, shares that “we’ve been doing a series of Heartside Listening Sessions with The City of Grand Rapids and one of the repeated requests was more information about available resources in the neighborhood and we also knew that we wanted to connect Dwelling Place residents more effectively to the resources in our building, pairing it all together seemed like a great way to outreach to more neighbors and make a greater impact.”
Participating Organizations include: Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., Heartside Business Association, The City of Grand Rapids, Downtown Ambassadors, Dwelling Place Peer to Peer Support Specialists, Dwelling Place Community Gardeners, Dwelling Place Visual and Performing Arts, Recovery Academy, Grand Rapids Public Library, The Rapidian and Grand Rapids Community Media Center, Grand Rapids Red Project, Dégagé Ministries, UICA, YWCA of West Michigan, Kent County Tax Coalition, and many more.
Schaub says that, “residents were also interested in finding ways to get engaged not just with social services but how they can get involved with the community and have their voice heard.”
On the second day of the Neighbor Knowledge Exchange from 9:30 a.m. - 7:30 p.m., The City of Grand Rapids will be hosting three sessions and each session will include a meal which will bring together business owners, non-profit organizations, social service organizations, residents, and community members to engage in the feedback from the 14 Heartside quality of life listening sessions during the Fall and Winter season of 2017.
Brian Molhoek, Community Coordinator Intern at Dwelling Place, shares that his key takeaways from the Fall and Winter 2017 listening sessions were “connectivity and collaboration between the agencies [social service] and neighbors themselves and coming up with a unified vision and voice for Heartside which was especially important to those who showed up to the sessions.”
Molhoek had just started his internship with Dwelling Place during the start of the listening sessions and they were his first introduction to the neighborhood. He says that it showed him, “the points that people rally around and the great diversity of opinion people have about the neighborhood which was a good perspective as an outside community members coming into the listening sessions to really learn about those similarities and the crossovers. Unpacking the dissent that exists with the report back that the City will be doing, we hope that neighbors will see that reflected and will be able to see their own voices represented if they attended the listening sessions.
Schaub says, “this is a great opportunity for people to hear about what was discussed during the sessions that they weren’t able to attend. Most importantly, this is their opportunity to set the agenda for what the City of Grand Rapids will be spending time and energy on moving forward—doing some community problem solving on certain issues that are identified.”
On-site childcare will be provided for Tuesday night's event as well as the evening portion of Wednesday night's event. If you are a Dwelling Place resident and will be needing childcare to attend, please RSVP to your building’s RSC. If you live, work, or play in the Heartside community, get engaged, join the conversation, and be open to meeting new neighbors during our resource sharing event.