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Pittsburgh, PA 15219

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The Gathering Connects People, Ideas and Resources!

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On Tuesday, June 6th, Neighborhood Allies welcomed over 70 people across nine communities to the Love My Neighbor! gathering, an event that brought together applicants of the Love My Neighbor! grant program. The purpose of the Gathering is to connect with one another, identify peoples’ assets, and connect those assets in ways to make our work stronger together.

The evening started with Presley Gillespie, President of Neighborhood Allies, addressing the room full of residents about the enormous importance of on the ground effort: “It is you that we fund and it is because of your work that communities are improving and changing.” Shikha Jerath, Program Manager of Community Building and Capacity Building, focused the crowd on the purpose of identifying and sharing out assets “sharing our skills, knowledge and resources with one another helps us create change so that we don’t depend solely on authority or outside resources to make change happen. Instead, we can instigate it and we make it happen.” Shikha also shared the goal of the event: “by the end of the night, we will get a list of assets from each person. Neighborhood Allies will organize these assets in a way that is accessible to the network of folks in this room.” The assets mapping activity aimed to breakdown neighborhood boundaries and connect residents across communities based on skills, interests, and knowledge.

Before the asset mapping activities and discussions, Roland Ford, who leads energizing activities for seniors through his project Homewood Community Seniors, energized the crowd by having people do exercises and dance moves in their seats. All participated by dancing to the fun and upbeat music (check out a video here!).

LaTrina Hall, a leader along with Anthony Morris of the Leaders Project , received a grant to continue and expand their work co-powering high school students to teach elementary students STEM education curricula through planting vegetables and herbs, while developing the leadership capacities – empathy, facilitation, and teaching and learning – that will develop these older students. During the small group discussions, LaTrina Hall reflected on her small group discussion and shared:

“Thank you all for your passion! It’s the people in this room that actually ignite the fire for our communities. If we don’t do it and engage children, then they don’t do anything. By everyone in that room being example, we make it possible for them to make a change in their own world. You are all heroes in your own right and you do it every day.”

For more information on the Love My Neighbor! Grant Program or the Grassroots Grantmaking Committee, please contact shikha@neighborhoodlallies.org

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