It has been an honor to work for Avenue CDC with the GO Neighborhoods program on and off since starting here as a LISC AmeriCorps member in 2011. My first year with LISC AmeriCorps was with an agency where I was often frustrated that they were not putting the residents they worked with in the center of the work they were doing. I was very impressed with the work that other AmeriCorps service members were doing with Avenue CDC in the Northside and how they were working with community leaders to set their agenda and priorities. I was very happy to join Avenue in 2011.
When I started here, the Community Building and Engagement (CB&E) team had grown to be three people for the first time. We now have six people working in the Near Northside and Northline areas to bring community members and stakeholders together to improve the quality of life of their neighborhoods. The growth of this program has been remarkable, with a number of very impressive accomplishments. As our program has continued to grow we have struggled to figure out how to manage this growth.
Some of the things that I am most proud of being involved with include resident lead efforts to slow down gentrification with minimum lot size protections (more than 1,500 to date). I enjoyed working with parents, students and alumni of Davis High School to win an additional 19 million dollars from HISD for the reconstruction of Davis with the 2012 bond program, as well as working with residents in hosting many community meetings in the wake of Josue Flores’ death about how to improve safety in our neighborhood. I have been able to work on dozens of different projects with hundreds of people in this neighborhood. I have fallen in love with the Northside after five years of working and living here.
I am departing to new a type of challenge; I have been offered a position as a cadet in the Houston Fire Department and will be starting training this month. This is a big shift that I hope will allow me to have more work/life/family balance.
I was blessed to receive the support of Avenue CDC’s Homebuyer Education Center and multiple low income homebuyer assistance programs to purchase a house in the Near Northside. I hope to stay involved in many of the activities taking place in the Northside community and am excited to see the progress that will be made in years to come in improving the quality of life for all in our community.
It has been an honor and privilege to work with you. Please keep up the great work!