The Patterson Park Pack

29 Nov

One of the major components of this Public Allies experience is that we Allies are divided into teams and assigned a neighborhood to engage. The goal of the Team Service Project as it’s called is for us to learn and apply the principles of Asset Based Community Development (ABCD). Asset based community development teaches that the foundation for a strong sustainable community is built upon the local people, associations, institutions, and others assets that already exist in the neighborhoods. My group was assigned the Patterson Park neighborhood, and our goal is to identify and engage with the assets there: the leaders, both apparent and potential, who live in the neighborhoods, the community associations, schools, and many many more. Armed with our mission, we decided to call ourselves the, “Patterson Park Pack” (P3).

On Wednesday October 24 we visited the Patterson Park neighborhood for the first time as a group. Along with our program managers we toured the expansive and beautifully maintained center of the community; the park. We quickly realized why the park is the hub of the neighborhood. It encompassed a skating rink, multiple playgrounds, a football field and acre upon of acre of open green space. As we began to contemplate the asset based method of development it became apparent that the park was the definition of an asset.

We didn’t stop at touring the park however.  We were assigned a community liaison to help us gain entry and inclusion into the community more smoothly. He was able to schedule a meeting with two prominent figures in Patterson Park: Dr. Elizabeth Obara and Ed Rutkowski,The Community Schools Coordinator and Executive Director of the Patterson Park Public Charter School respectively. Both have lengthy and strong ties to the community and were able to provide us with a wealth of information for a starting point for our TSP brainstorming. Thanks to their insight we were introduced to some great organizations and community initiatives such as Banner Neighborhoods and Friends of Patterson Park  that will serve as great assets for us to potentially work with within Patterson Park.

As promising as our first TSP endeavor was we know that we’ve only just begun this project, so stay tuned for updates on our progress all the way through our final presentation in June 2013!

For more information on either Dr. Obara or Ed Rutkowsi visit  http://www.pppcs.org/about/staff

To learn more about Public Allies and Asset Based Community Development(ABDC) read “Everyone Leads: Building Leadership from the Community Up” by Public Allies CEO Paul Schmitz.

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