United Way of Howard County - 4Community

By Katie Denta, Intern

The Community Foundation of Howard County is providing grant funding to the United Way of Howard County to support the 4Community Howard County project. The 4Community Howard County project aims to strengthen family bonds and bring neighborhoods together to strengthen the community.

Currently, 4Community is working in the Near Northwest neighborhood and at Pine Valley public housing in Kokomo. Each neighborhood has a neighborhood coordinator who works to identify and empower neighborhood champions or leaders. Lori Tate started as the neighborhood coordinator for the Near Northwest neighborhood and Pine Valley in March of 2013. Tate says her role requires her “to be out and about in the neighborhoods.”

Tate explained the 4Community program adopted the two neighborhoods then worked to find out what type of services neighborhood residents wanted. “They wanted activities for their kids,” said Tate. “So The Crossing Garden program was implemented. The kids wanted to grow tomatoes and then had the idea of making it into salsa and selling it at the farmers’ market. There is also an art appreciation program called Art Reach for kids.”

While the premise of 4Community is to strengthen families and neighborhoods, 4Community works to bring resources into the neighborhood. “The expectation is that residents will not go outside of the neighborhood for services,” explained Tate. “So, to prevent a waste of resources, we help make the connection between existing services and neighborhoods.”

Tate concluded, “My hope is that with 4Community we will really empower people to speak up and have pride in their own neighborhood. We want to bring people together, get their ideas and empower them to have a voice. It’s not me doing it, it is getting the residents involved.”

4Community is identifying and raising up leaders in the Near Northwest and Pine Valley neighborhoods. Grant funding from the Community Foundation of Howard County is being used towards implementation of this program.

“We look forward to watching local leadership help develop a close, neighborly sense of community in both neighborhoods,” said Hilda Burns, president of the Community Foundation of Howard County, “We are proud of the work 4Community is doing in both neighborhoods and are excited to see what great progress the program makes in years to come.”

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