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Civic Engagement Series Bring Neighbors Together

The idea first came about when Antonette Robinson of the Crescent Neighborhood Association wanted to create a Civic Engagement Series, one that would bring neighbors together in a casual, social way to share ideas about current events and provide opportunities to learn more about policy and decision-making in local, state, and national governments and organizations. Antonette shared this idea with Kerri VanderHoff, Executive Director of the Coalition for Community Development (CCD) based in Muskegon Heights, and together, they thought this project would be the perfect candidate for a Community Empowerment Small Grant. 

“The Community Empowerment Small Grant we received lived up to its name, I think, and we are grateful for it,” said Antonette Robinson, co-chair of the Crescent Neighborhood Association in Muskegon Heights. “It helped bring an idea to life, where we could then take that initial investment and reach out and partner with other neighborhood associations and organizations. These things are so important in bringing our community together to take positive action.”

This series was held in the fall at the pavilion on Summit and Waalkes in Muskegon Heights and was catered by Executive Chef Catering. Speakers included Marquis Childers Jr., a Muskegon Heights resident and vice president on the board of the Neighborhood Associations of Michigan, and Ted Jauw, a storyteller and historian with longtime experience in political matters and community building. Topics were focused around the importance of completing the Census, voting, and having public spaces within neighborhoods to gather to share ideas and information.

“Honestly, while we expected that the series would be informative – and it was – it also felt like a bonding experience,” says Kerri VanderHoff, executive director of the CCD. “With all the leaders of the neighborhood associations present among the participants, it was a chance to show support for each other. Building and maintaining the associations takes commitment and work, and it felt like an inspiring retreat to share stories and ideas, and to build cohesion and camaraderie.”

The Crescent Neighborhood Association plans to continue this series in the summer. We are excited to keep you updated on their progress and great work in the community!