First annual Neighborhood Leadership Institute unites Rochester residents

Rochester, NY (October 18, 2010)- In late August, PathStone, in conjunction with the Marketview Heights Collective Action Project, hosted the first annual Neighborhood Leadership Institute (NLI) in Rochester, NY.  The institute, inspired by NeighborWorks® America’s national Community Leadership Institute, united more than 70 residents from 14 different zip codes in the City.

 The NLI kicked-off with a Volunteer Recognition Dinner and networking event at PathStone Headquarters in Rochester.  Attendees were welcomed by City Council President, Lovely Warren and PathStone Corporation President & CEO, Stuart J. Mitchell.  Renowned community activist and Rochester native, Eugene “Gus” Newport gave the keynote address, encouraging participants to take ownership of their neighborhoods. 

The late Shirley Edwards was honored with the Shirley Edwards Award for Excellence in Community Service, and Martin Pedraza, long-time Marketview Heights resident received the inaugural award.  Jesse Knoth was recognized by NeighborWorks® America with the Dorothy Richardson Award for Resident Leadership, a national honor bestowed annually in recognition of outstanding contributions by dedicated community leaders.

From the 70 participants, action teams were created based on neighborhood, location and need, and they were all charged to plan, design and implement activities that identified and built upon their communities’ unique assets. Team members attended a variety of skill-building workshops on the second day of the institute, and came together on the final day to create an action plan.  At the end of the institute, eleven teams submitted action plans, for which PathStone was able to offer $500 in seed money.  Projects ranged from light bulb exchanges to community gardens, to resident-run adult literacy programs.

PathStone will continue to offer technical assistance and support to the eleven teams.  In addition, there will be a monthly rotation between community meetings to share successes and setbacks in the planning process; documentary film screenings and discussions; and additional skill-building workshops.

PathStone received funding from NeighborWorks® America, the City of Rochester and Fastrac Market to host the event.  The $500 mini grants provided to each team were sponsored by Action for a Better Community (ABC).

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