4 civic associations receive grants for neighborhood projects


 Messenger photo by Dianne Garrett
Four eastside Columbus civic associations received grants at the Neighborhood Partnership Grant Celebration on Aug. 14 at Franklin Park Conservatory.  Seated are Deborah Suber of Thunderbird Acres Neighborhood Association, Cynthia Lawson of Berwyn East Civic Association, and Janice Gray, Unity in the Community.  Standing are John Adamonis of Willis Park Civic Association and Lynne Lecour of Neighborhood Pride Center East.

People who care about their neighbors and neighborhoods can make a difference, and have been successful throughout Franklin County.  Forty-one civic associations, including four from the eastside, were honored for those efforts on Aug. 14 at Franklin Park Conservatory.  

Receiving the Community and Economic Development Awards were Unity in the Community and Willis Park Civic Association.  Berwyn East Civic Association and Thunderbird Acres Neighborhood Association received the Education and Public Awareness Award.

The Neighborhood Partnership Grant was established in 2006 by United Way, The Columbus Foundation, Bob Evans and National City Bank, to enhance their endeavors.  About $300,000 in grants were awarded for neighborhood projects.  

Willis Park  will be placing decorative stones at their gateway located at East Livingston Avenue and Country Club Road.  Thunderbird Acres will continue their Journalism Corps for youths 13-18 years old.  Berwyn East grant will continue to support Youth Work Corps for seventh and eighth grade students.  

Unity in the Community’s grant will finance their festival on Saturday, August 18 from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Livingston Court parking lot at the corner of East Livingston Avenue and Courtright Road.

Robert Caldwell of YWCA Family Center said that there are three reasons for the partnership:  to recognize good work organizations do in their communities; recognize partnerships that came together to provide funding to make the grants possible; and to recognize grass roots community activism.

"It’s about neighbor serving neighbor," noted Caldwell.

Entertaining the group were Urban Cultural Arts Foundation with poetry readings, and CC Angels Double Dutch performing jump rope routines.  Both of their organizations also received grants in education and public awareness.

Dan Shakelford, former chairman of the Neighborhood Development Vision Council, United Way of Central Ohio, pointed out that there is a big pool of talent in neighborhoods.  

"Civic associations are the source of networking.  They are not in all neighborhoods, so everyone’s help is needed.  It takes more than the police to keep a neighborhood safe," he said.  

He added that people need to simply look out their windows and be aware of what is happening outside.  He encouraged residents to report problems to city hall, and if they don’t respond to keep calling.  

Students from the Thunderbird Acres Journalism Corps shared that they enjoy guest speakers who visit them.  They said Eastside Messenger editor John Matuszak was "fun and cool" at a recent workshop in July.

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