Columbia Renews Neighborhood Leadership Program

7 years 2 weeks 22 hours ago Wednesday, December 01 2010 Dec 1, 2010 Wednesday, December 01, 2010 6:19:43 PM CST December 01, 2010 in News
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COLUMBIA - City of Columbia officials said Wednesday they are now taking applicants for the city's Neighborhood Leadership Program. The Office of Neighborhood Services is offering the program, which is in its third year, as an opportunity to engage new community members, and keep longtime residents involved in their community. Anyone from established community leaders to new residents are welcome to apply.

"I would encourage everyone who is interested to sign up," Neighborhood Response Coordinator Bill Cantin said. "I think we offer something valuable, and if you're interested in city works and thinking about taking a leadership role in the community in the future, then by all means attend."

Program coordinators said they took feedback from last year's participants to improve the 2011 series.

After a series of crimes in her neighborhood, Angie Haigh decided to enroll in the course last year to learn how to better protect her community.

"It was time to fight back," Haigh said. "I learned several things from the Neighborhood Leadership program and ultimately designed and implemented a website for Neighborhood Associates to unite as well."

One of the changes which Haigh played a part in creating is the city offering more sessions on the city's strategic planning and growth issues.

"We thought it would be a good time to do some extra focus on that," Cantin said. "That was one of the more interesting issues that folks kind of said, 'We really liked it, we wish we had more time on it.' So, OK, that's how we developed it."

There will be seven sessions offered throughout February and March of next year, down from eight in 2010. The Office of Neighborhood Services plans to bring in speakers from across the community, including elected officials, city staff and current neighborhood leaders to help next year's participants better understand how all of Columbia's parts work together.

Haigh said the program answers questions on topics ranging from street light repairs to the difference between an emergency and non-emergency situation and how to develop or strengthen a neighborhood association.

The city will choose 25 participants based on a short application available at the Neighborhood Services office on Providence, or submitted online. People interested in the program have until January 10 to fill out an application. The city requires a $25 fee from the chosen applicants, but will offer scholarships if necessary.

The program begins February 1, 2011 and runs until March 15. Meetings will be held at the Walton Building at 300 S. Providence Road.

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