Local blockwatch reaches out to others
A local blockwatch is stepping up their efforts to help improve Columbus neighborhoods.
The Great Western Blockwatch and Civic Association, led by Coordinator Jay McCallister, was recently chosen as a recipient of the Vibrant Neighborhoods Toolbox curriculum and grant, presented by the United Way and Macy’s.
According to McCallister, nearly 100 groups applied for the grant, but only 12 were chosen in central Ohio.
As a part of the program, winning groups spent the months of October and November taking classes about communication, community engagement, leadership development and public policy. Upon completion of those classes, each group was awarded a grant totaling $1,500, to be used for a project that relates to the completed curriculum.
While the choices were nearly endless, including options such as a newsletter, a Web site, membership recruitment or community engagement activities, McCallister’s group chose something a little more selfless. Their grant money will be spent helping provide other blockwatches with the tools they need for success.
On May 16, the Great Western Blockwatch and Civic Association will host the Hilltop Leadership Training Seminar, an event intended for blockwatch coordinators and block captains from the Hilltop and southwest Columbus.
According to McCallister, his group saw the need for the seminar when the city started making cuts due to budget shortfalls.
“Everyone’s going through hard times right now and we’ve got to pick up some of the slack ourselves,” he said.
The seminar will provide refresher courses and additional training for local blockwatch groups. Guests from the Columbus Division of Police and code enforcement will lead training sessions along with others.
Those in attendance will have an opportunity to learn about things that a blockwatch can and can’t do.
“Believe it or not, that can be an issue,” said McCallister.
They will also learn what happens after a call is placed to the police department and when to call 9-1-1 instead of a non-emergency number.
A catered lunch will be provided, along with many take-home tools, such as business cards and notebooks customized to blockwatches.
While the seminar is open to blockwatches throughout the area, participation will be limited. Groups will be chosen based on their level of activity, the need for training and supplies and their desire to participate.
Interested groups should contact Jay McCallister by Feb. 10 by calling 351-1278 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The need is throughout the entire Hilltop,” said McCallister. “It just seemed like something the Hilltop really needed.”