Braddock District Neighborhood Colleges Set to Begin March 1

Phase two of my Community Engagement Initiative begins next month with two Neighborhood Colleges. Neighborhood College is ideal for those who want to make a difference but aren’t sure where to start. Graduates use this program to help their neighbors, become involved in local issues, take on leadership roles in their communities and volunteer. Students learn about local government, meet elected officials and leaders, meet community-based organizations, see how to build partnerships and consensus and learn effective participation and leadership skills, including engaging diverse communities.

The first Braddock Neighborhood College begins Monday, March 1 and will run for five consecutive Monday nights at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church (4801 Ravensworth Road in Annandale). There will also be an all day workshop on Saturday, March 20 and graduation will be held on April 12. The second Neighborhood College will begin Wednesday, March 24 and will run for 6 consecutive Wednesday nights in Braddock Hall. The Saturday date will be April 10. 

Braddock residents interested in participating in the Neighborhood Colleges should contact my office at 703-425-9300 for further information. 

The first part of the Community Engagement Initiative was held on Saturday, January 23, when 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. In fact, of those who responded to the survey at the end of the day, 95 rated the Leadership Institute as very good or excellent.

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.

These trained and energized volunteers from the Leadership Institute and Neighborhood Colleges 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. 


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