Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Public Allies Delaware joins hands with Blueprint Communities

Team Service Projects (TSP) have long been one of the 3 major components of the Public Allies program. Over the last few years, we have been successful in developing a truly asset-focused TSP model, in which teams of Allies partner with local community groups and become catalysts for neighborhood-based leadership. Delaware Allies have already helped local community members to create a variety of innovative projects. You can see the WHYY video coverage that the West Side Grows community garden project received earlier this year right here. This year we are extremely excited that for the first time, we will be able to combine our TSP efforts with Blueprint Communities, another community-based initiative that is very near-and-dear to us!

As you may know, Public Allies Delaware (PADE) is housed in the University of Delaware Center for Community Research and Service (CCRS). In 2008, CCRS partnered with the FHLBank of Pittsburgh to bring the Blueprint Communities initiative to Delaware.  Blueprint Communities is a "a revitalization and leadership initiative that serves as a catalyst for creating sustainable communities in our region." CCRS is currently working with 8 Blueprint Communities Teams in Delaware, each representing a local community, including the recent additions of the Wilmington neighborhood of Browntown and Georgetown in Sussex County. These teams are comprised of residents, bankers, and nonprofit leaders.  CCRS assists the teams through technical assistance, planning, coaching, and other resources.

This year we have produced a win-win formula. Late in the summer the Blueprint teams submitted project proposals. Each of our 4 Public Allies teams are now matched with a Blueprint team. The communities represented are: Edgemoor, Hilltop/Little Italy, Historic Overlook Colony and Vicinity, and Simonds Gardens. So, the Blueprint Community teams now have the added capacity that a team of highly-motivated, energetic Allies can bring to their community plans. The Allies now have a leg-up in that they are starting off their 10 months with a strong community cohort already in place and project proposals that represent a smaller piece of a larger community-sponsored plan. This past Friday, the Blueprint teams met the Ally teams for the first time and excitement was in the air...stay tuned for more to come!

The Blueprint Communities Delaware program is a joint initiative of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh, the University of Delaware Center for Community Research and Service, and the Jessie Ball duPont Fund.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Core Training Complete - They're Hanging in There!

What a great way to cap off Core Training for the Class of 2012!  Yesterday was a warm but almost ideal day to spend swinging from a rope 30 feet in the air in Newark at the UD campus.  The "Adventure Challenge Experience" serves the purpose of developing strong team communication and challenging the individual Ally to achieve new heights (haha).  Dr. Roger Spacht led us through a days-worth of activities and ensured that our harnesses and helmets were fastened securely!

This is a challenge-by-choice activity.  Each year we have people who surprise themselves with what they are able to push themselves to do - for some that means making it all the way around the course and down the zip line, and for some it means overcoming their initial fear of heights on their way up the cargo net.

Do you have any words of advice for the Allies about how they can continue to challenge themselves over the next 9 1/2 months?  Also, please join us in wishing the Allies good luck at their first few days with their Partner Organizations!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Class of 2012 - Week One!

Here's our first group shot of the PADE Class of 2012 at the Community Service Building in Wilmington.  It's now day 2 and we're moving on from policies, procedures, and ground rules to Life Maps.  Life Maps are an opportunity for the new Allies to present the story of their life in 10 minutes.  They are asked to reflect on the most important people, places, and events in their lifes and share with the rest of the group how these things have made them the people they are today.

Do you remember your first life map experience?  What did you learn about yourself and others through the process?  Did it set the tone for your PA experience?  Please post a comment below!

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