Neighbors Together News
G. Naeema Gillyard, 2015 participant in ANDP's Neighbors Together resident leadership program, has been recognized for her neighborhood leadership and environmental activisim. In late October 2023, Naeema was one of five to receive the NeighborWorks America Dorothy Richards Award for Resident Leadership.
See Naeema's full story here.
Watch Naeema's video here.
Gilyard Wins the Dorothy Richardson Award
Meet the 2023-24
Neighbors Together Team
Ms. Maria White-Dumas has lived in the Thomasville neighborhood in the City of Atlanta for most of her life. In fact, she owns the home built in 1962 that her grandfather and her aunt once owned. Maria serves as Treasurer of the Thomasville Heights Civic League, and she has also served on the Board of the Thomasville Heights Community Development Corporation. Maria works as a purchasing manager for United Distributors. She and her husband are the proud parents of four boys, ages 22 to 27.
Ms. LaDonna Hampton has been a proud resident of Clayton County since 1998. LaDonna has planned and implemented the Juneteenth event held annually in Lee Street Park in Jonesboro. The event brings together business leaders, city officials, and local families. Her hard work was recently recognized with a proclamation from the City of Jonesboro. LaDonna serves as a youth services programmer for the Clayton County Library system. She is passionate about youth literacy and works as a reading development tutor for children. LaDonna is the proud mother of a 17-year-old son.
The Honorable Keisha Jeffcoat represents District 3 on the City of Mableton City Council. Keisha has served her country for 28 years in the US Army. She is passionate about critical issues impacting the Veteran community and helping Veterans successfully reintegrate into civilian society when they have completed their terms of service. In volunteer roles, she has supported the homeless, single mothers, and those struggling with mental health concerns. Keisha works for Truist Bank.
Ms. Zakiyah Morris was raised in the City of East Point, where she still lives and works today. Zakiyah recently started a position as a Community Health Worker affiliated with the Morehouse School of Medicine, where she works closely with the Mayor of East Point and the City Council to advance health equity. In her role, she educates residents and plans health-related events. She is currently planning a health equity summit that will provide free clinical testing and other services to the community. In her limited spare time, Zakiyah enjoys yoga and cooking.
Ms. Nakia Romans is a resident of the Cliftondale neighborhood of the City of South Fulton, where she was born and raised. Nakia’s work in the community dates to her time as a Girl Scout, where she was an active volunteer. She served as assistant director for an established daycare and after-school center in the community before accepting a staff position with the City of South Fulton City Council, where she worked for Council Member Naeema Gilyard. In that role, Nakia represented Council Member Gilyard at community meetings and events, helped draft legislation, and cultivated relationships with key community stakeholders. She holds a master’s in public administration with a focus on nonprofit management. In her spare time, Nakia loves to travel.
For questions about the Neighbors Together program, please get in touch with Susan Adams, ANDP Senior Director for Operations at email@example.com.
Families thrive in safe and healthy neighborhoods. But communities rarely achieve such desired conditions without informed and engaged residents. As the region comes to grips with a historic shortage of affordable housing, long-term residents and neighborhood leaders are contending with a host of issues - gentrification and displacement, the threat of eviction, rising rents, and diminishing homeownership opportunities.
In these impacted neighborhoods, residents come together in Neighborhood Watch meetings, homeowners’ associations, and small groups of concerned citizens to strengthen their neighborhoods. To support residents engaged in the work of neighborhood stabilization, ANDP created Neighbors Together.
First launched at the annual NeighborWorks Week in 2015 and inspired by NeighborWorks America's National Community Leadership Institute, Neighbors Together was designed to be a training and leadership development event with the goal of arming residents with the information and tools needed to strengthen communities from the inside out. The event was well-received by neighborhood leaders and ANDP was asked to continue to offer the free training event.
Now in its sixth year, Neighbors Together convenes both formal and informal neighborhood leaders for an annual half-day of training with an emphasis on neighborhood stabilization efforts. Training topics include:
Neighborhood Branding and Marketing
Property Law & Code Enforcement
Strengthening Relationships with Law Enforcement
Connecting School and Community
Neighborhood Advocacy with Elected Officials
Foreclosure Mitigation Programs
Neighbors Together is executed in three distinct phases:
Community Leadership Institute - Neighborhood residents and leaders who demonstrate an uncommon commitment to their communities are selected annually for a six-person team to attend NeighborWorks® America’s Community Leadership Institute (CLI). As described by NeighborWorks America, “CLI is an invitation-only, three-day training event that aims to strengthen the voices and skills of community, resident, and volunteer leaders. Participants from around the country attend in small teams from communities served by NeighborWorks Network organizations and their partners. They attend a full range of courses, and each participating team creates an action plan for positive change in their community.”
Dating back to its creation in 2008, CLI events have been held in New Orleans, LA; San Jose and Sacramento, CA; Milwaukee, WI; Kansas City, MO; Orlando, FL; Cincinnati, OH; Louisville, KY; Chicago, IL; and San Francisco, CA.
Local Solutions - After attending the national CLI event, Neighbors Together Team members meet with ANDP staff for support as they undertake the necessary research to identify their specific neighborhood issues and underlying causes. Over the next several months, the team and ANDP staff collaborate to create a half-day training event designed to address the specific concerns identified. Simultaneously, team members begin developing a plan of action and identifying community stakeholders to engage. The annual training event also serves as a sounding board, and an opportunity to further develop team member plans.
Creating Change - After participating in Neighbors Together for nearly a year, team members move forward with the information and resources they’ve gained in the process to address their neighborhood concerns. Most team members return to attend the annual training events to further their understanding of issues and skill development.
NEIGHBORS TOGETHER IMPACT
Fifty metro residents have been selected to attend NeighborWorks America’s National Community Leadership Institute and joined the Neighbors Together Team.
Team members planned and executed six annual Neighbors Together training events, engaging more than 1,000 active, committed neighborhood leaders.
Several team members have taken their engagement to the next level by running for elected office or participating in additional leadership training programs.
Several program participants have successfully applied for and received funding to support their neighborhood-based programs and initiatives.
About NeighborWorks America
For more than 40 years, Neighborhood Reinvestment Corp., a national, nonpartisan nonprofit known as NeighborWorks America, has strived to make every community a place of opportunity. Our network of excellence includes nearly 250 members in every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. NeighborWorks America offers grant funding, peer exchange, technical assistance, evaluation tools, and access to training as the nation’s leading trainer of housing and community development professionals. NeighborWorks network organizations provide residents in their communities with affordable homes, owned and rented; financial counseling and coaching; community building through resident engagement; and collaboration in the areas of health, employment, and education. More online at www.neighborworks.org.