Southeast Decatur residents may soon benefit from the continuing efforts of The Partnership’s 2017 NeighborWorks Week street makeover with plans for a new pocket park on Enolam Boulevard.
During the 2017 NeighborWorks Week street makeover event, residents of Enolam Boulevard and neighboring streets expressed interest in converting a vacant corner lot into a small park. The Partnership cleaned up the lot for the staging area of the NeighborWorks Week event last June and its potential was realized as a future location for some type of neighborhood green space.
Coordinated through Partnership Community Engagement Specialist Amber Jones, contact was made with the City of Decatur. Officials were asked about the possibility of converting the lot owned by the city into a pocket park for residents. “A group of the residents came to me with the suggestion to build the pocket park,” Councilwoman Kristi Hill.
To have someone come and help you…it’s unexpected. If everyone could expect this, it’d be a different world. -SE Decatur resident Alonzo Villarreal
Each June NeighborWorks American and its local organizations mobilize volunteers, neighbors, friends, and national and local leaders in a weeklong celebration of neighborhood change and awareness that helps strengthen communities and celebrate our collective impact. This year, NeighborWorks Week takes place from Saturday, June 2nd through Saturday, June 9th.
NeighborWorks Week 2018 Highlights SE Decatur on Tenth Avenue
Beginning Monday, June 4th, our annual NeighborWorks Week event will kick off in the East Decatur community on the 1900-2000 block of 10th Avenue SE. Each day, volunteers and staff will descend on the work area with one goal in mind: leave 10th Street SE better than they found it. As the population of the area ages and limited incomes affect homeowners’ abilities to maintain their yards, needs grow for basic landscaping.
Teams of volunteers will donate their time, sweat, and dollars to help trim trees and shrubs, mow lawns, paint homes, and perform minor repairs such as updating porch railings and mend soffits.
Resident Alonzo Villarreal said during NeighborWorks 2017, “To have someone come and help you…it’s unexpected. If everyone could expect this, it’d be a different world.”
This year marks the 5th year that The Partnership has focused its NeighborWorks Week efforts in the SE Decatur area through block and street makeovers. And during the celebration event at the end of NeighborWorks Week, participating residents from the previous years’ events will be recognized with awards given for those who have continued to maintain their yards.
The event celebration for volunteers, partners, residents, and staff will take place on Friday, June 8th at 11 a.m. at the corner of 19th Avenue SE and 10th Street SE, on the event staging area lot.
Fort Payne in Northeast Alabama is the site of The Partnership’s newest affordable housing development in the state. The Hixon Pond project will be the first Partnership development in DeKalb County, placing The Partnership’s affordable housing footprint in 21 counties in the state.
Construction of the project is making great progress toward the projected completion date of late fall 2018. As of the end of May, all major systems had been installed with the expectation of interior projects to begin around the middle of June.
The Village at Hixon Pond is a 56-unit multi-family complex will feature 40 2-Bedroom units and 16 3-Bedroom Units, with 2 units for the sensory impaired and 3 handicapped units. Other amenities include: a community building, exterior security, covered porches, outside storage, a gazebo, a covered picnic pavilion, an outdoor fitness area, a computer center and a covered bus stop shelter.
Community Action Partnership of North Alabama is a results-driven, nonprofit organization committed to reducing or eliminating the causes and consequences of poverty for families and communities. The Partnership strives to be a local leader by engaging and investing in the communities we serve in 28 counties in Alabama.
In 2010, the Partnership became a chartered member of the NeighborWorks® America network, a national nonprofit with a mission to create opportunities for people to live in affordable homes, improve their lives, and strengthen their communities. The NeighborWorks® network ensures its 248 organizations are provided with adequate resources, training, and funding.
Thanks to the NeighborWorks America network and their variety of training programs and certifications, The Partnership’s Housing Business Unit is equipped to provide guidance to individuals and families through comprehensive homeownership services. From eight-hour homebuyer education classes to one-on-one counseling and financial capabilities workshops, residents have the opportunity to ask questions and find answers to more affordable housing solutions.
As a partner agency, The Partnership receives funding from the NeighborWorks network to coordinate resources and services that strengthen the community. Through ongoing CB&E efforts and single projects such as NeighborWorks Week, The Partnership connects with the community thanks to the support from NeighborWorks America.
The Partnership is honored to be a member of a national leader and dedicated to doing our part in creating affordable housing solutions for the communities we serve. As a nonprofit, collaboration is key to successfully serving our local communities. To provide meaningful and life-long change requires individuals and organizations committed to an issue to join forces and form deep, powerful connections.
The word ‘champion’ conjures up different images in the minds of people when tasked with reflecting on what a champion is. Merriam-Webster defines a ‘champion’ as one that does battle for another’s rights or honor. For the communities of Decatur and Hartselle in Morgan County, Alabama, champion means that much and more. During the week of March 26-30, The Partnership’s Meals on Wheels & More program invited Community Champions to join volunteers on delivery routes to meet the customers and engage in conversation with those who receive the daily meals.
Hartselle Mayor Randy Garrison took time out of his busy schedule to join volunteer Alisha Ricketts on her meal route. Mayor Garrison said of his experience, “I truly enjoyed the time I spent last week with (Alisha). She really goes above and beyond with her folks, they all seemed to look forward to seeing her and many of them were happy to talk with us.”
The Community Champions Week is part of Meals on Wheels America‘s March for Meals. During this time, local programs are encouraged to invite local, state and federal officials, local celebrities and other prominent community figures to deliver meals, speak out for seniors and raise awareness for the power of Meals on Wheels. Community Champions week within March for Meals provides local Meals on Wheels programs a wonderful opportunity to engage powerful figures in the community, garner media attention and helps raise public awareness for the nutritional and social needs of seniors.
Members of the Quilt Lover’s Guild of Decatur donated more than 400 hand-sewn quilted placemats to The Partnership’s Meals on Wheels & More and Senior Companion clients in an effort to bring recognition to local programs that serve those in need. Quilters Ivy Veinot, Dianna Smith and Mary Harris delivered the placemats to The Partnership’s Decatur Office on Central Parkway.
Quilter Ivy Veinot said that the Quilter’s Guild had a goal of 325 placemats, roughly the number of Meals on Wheels & More clients served each day by the program. Ms. Veinot pointed out that each placemat was hand-stitched and, if combined, the placemats would equal 15 queen-size quilts.
Donations of fabric were received from all across the Tennessee Valley for the project that began last December. Quilters from multiple guilds throughout the region contributed their efforts. Of those who donated their talents, Cathy Owen and Teresa Harrison were two “instrumental people” that Ms. Veinot said were invaluable to the success of the quilting project.
Partnership Chief Executive Officer Michael Tubbs was on hand to receive the Guild’s donation and said, “A homemade quilt becomes a treasure. I remember my grandmother made a double wedding ring quilt for my wife and me when we got married and it is on the bed today.”
Drivers for Meals on Wheels & More will deliver the placemats to their clients when they deliver their meals. Senior Companions, who serve their clients up to four hours per day up to three days a week, will have the opportunity to talk about the placemats with their clients. Ms. Veinot said she hopes that when the quilted placemats are delivered that someone is able to write down the recipients’ reactions. CEO Michael Tubbs replied, “They’ll be placed where they will be appreciated. Any gift is special. A homemade gift is really special, a legacy. So, thanks.”
Quilter Dianne Smith said, “We quilt a lot for ourselves, but we also like to make things for someone in particular. This makes (the quilts) a little bit more special. We know how thrilled they will be when they get these. These are good programs so we’re glad to help.”
This year’s Senior Programs Volunteers of the Year are recognized for going above and beyond in their service to others.
Each year The Partnership recognizes its Senior Program volunteers at its December in-service event at the Central Office in Decatur, Alabama. This year’s event highlighted those Foster Grandparents and Senior Companions who have made a measurable difference in the lives of those they serve. Clients and client families are asked to highlight some special moments they shared with their respective volunteers over the last year and submit for consideration for Volunteer of the Year.
Senior Program volunteers are members of the community who are 55 or older and serve as Foster Grandparents in the local school systems to support students who need some individualized instruction or as Senior Companions in clients’ homes to help ease the burden of care for elderly and disabled residents. They each receive a small stipend for their time that does not interfere with their retirement income limits as social security recipients.
This year’s nominees are a testament to their dedication to their roles. Just read what others had to say about a few of these phenomenal individuals:
“Mrs. Johnson is always pleasant, happy, helpful and kind. She helps the teacher and the students each day. Mrs. Johnson always has something positive to say to the staff and the students. We LOVE Mrs. Johnson!” (Teacher Angie Whittington about Foster Grandparent Martha Johnson, Woodmeade Elementary)
“Mrs. Ballard has been in the education field for so many years and has made such a positive impact on many students. She encourages the students daily whether it is or writing their name or reading a book for the first time. She also encourages me as a teacher when I get frustrated or when I feel that I have exhausted my ideas.” (Teacher Lauren Bentley about Foster Grandparent Estelle Ballard, Hanceville Elementary)
“Ms. Mayo stays very busy in the classroom helping the children, making books, sharpening pencils and eager to meet any needs that she sees. She is especially great at loving on the children. Her genuine display of selfless service is witnessed and received by all. We all want to be like Ms. Mayo when we grow up.” (Principal Tiffany Spencer, Austinville Elementary)
“The most important thing about Sylvia is she always comes in smiling and asking, ‘How are you today?’ She always helped so much by taking me to the doctor appointments, running errands for us and doing some meals for us. Besides being a Senior Companion she has become a friend for life.” (Client Daphene H. about Senior Companion Sylvia Turner)
“Edith has been a great help to me. My mother has dementia, which can be a challenge because she is 99+ years old and in complete care. Edith takes great patience with my mother and is a calm presence to her. Thank you for placing this sweet woman in my home.” (Client family member Susan E. about Senior Companion Edith Noble)
“Rose is heaven sent for my mom. My mother gets along so well with her. Rose is always in a cheerful mood, which rubs off on all of us when we are around her. She takes care of all of my mom’s house living needs, including food, medicine and house cleanliness. Just sitting with Mom and watching TV would be enough but she does much more. She even gets my mom to walk outside often.” (Client family member Kim H. about Senior Companion Rose Sutton)
Selecting one Volunteer of the Year for each program was an obvious challenge for Chief Executive Officer Michael Tubbs. After careful contemplation, Mr. Tubbs singled out two nominations that represented the ideal candidates for Volunteer of the Year. On hand to support their respective volunteers were Foster Grandparent Coordinator Michele Andrews (pictured with Ms. Mayo and CEO Michael Tubbs) and Senior Companion Coordinator Carrie Waynick (pictured with client Kim H., Ms. Sutton and CEO Michael Tubbs).
This year’s winners were: Jo Mayo, Foster Grandparent of the Year and Rose Sutton, Senior Companion of the Year.