Braddock District Leadership Institute a Rousing Success



Board Matter

Braddock District Leadership Institute a Rousing Success

Madame Chairman:

Last October I informed the Board of the launching of my Community Engagement Initiative, a year-long effort to better connect people to each other and their communities, and to give engaged individuals and communities the knowledge and resources they need to strengthen their neighborhoods and organizations. As one part of this initiative, last Saturday over sixty current and future community leaders in the Braddock District joined me for Fairfax County’s first-of-its-kind, day-long Leadership Institute. The Institute featured a keynote address by Ron Carlee, the former Arlington, Va., County Manager and current Executive in Residence of the International City Manager’s Association, focusing on Community Leadership. Other general sessions covered engaging diverse populations and how to conduct a neighborhood planning exercise. Breakout sessions covered legal and fiduciary responsibilities of community leadership, creating and maintaining safe neighborhoods, how to start an environmental stewardship program, and how to develop an emergency response plan. 

The energy in the room throughout the day was palpable, and participants indicated a high degree of satisfaction with the program and excitement over their future role as engaged community leaders. The program was not designed to be an academic exercise, but a call to action. I have called on these leaders to return to their communities, recruit volunteers, establish goals through a collaborative, inclusive community planning process, and get to the work of making their communities better places to live.

There is more to come. We will hold two Neighborhood Colleges in the coming months to provide another 50 to 75 community volunteers with the knowledge and skills to assist our newly-trained leaders in community engagement. These trained and energized volunteers will be the backbone of neighborhood and organizational level visioning and planning processes that will, I believe, launch a number of neighborhood-level community growth initiatives. 

The Leadership Institute was the result of a lot of hard work and a collaborative effort between our leadership team.  I’d like to thank:

Mr. David Ellis, Assistant to the County Executive for Neighborhood Services
Mr. Ken Dissoelkoen, Director, Department of Systems Management for Human Services
Bill Barfield/Jan Hedetniemi, Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Braddock District Council
Mrs. Janet Hubbel, Region 2-Regional Director, Department of Systems Management
Ms. Sarah Allen, Region 4- Regional Director, Department of Systems Management
Ms. Karla Bruce, Director of Coordinated Services, Department of Community and Recreational Services
Ms. Michelle Thompson, Consumer Specialist, Department of Cable Communications & Consumer Protection

Braddock residents interested in participating in the neighborhood colleges should contact my office for further information. I will report back to the Board later this year on our progress in the next phase of our Community Engagement Initiative. 

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