Non-profit organization obtained residents’ input on where to locate the new neighborhood at a series of public meetings last fall.
Regional non-profit organization Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley announced today that it will locate its new Easton Promise Neighborhood within the city’s West Ward neighborhood.
PNLV established its first neighborhood in the Old Allentown Historic District in the city’s downtown seven years ago. The success of Allentown Promise Neighborhood has lead the organization to expand its model to the valley’s other two cities in the coming years.
Easton Promise Neighborhood Manager Ammar Sharif compiled data about the city’s four neighborhoods in an environmental scan. This data was presented to the public at 17 public town hall meetings, which took place in each neighborhood in order to include the citizens of Easton in the discussion that helped to determine the best place to establish the Easton Promise Neighborhood. The PNLV Board of Directors reviewed the feedback gathered at those meetings along with the data from the scan and selected Census tract 142.
“Information can be powerful, but not until it is shared. The Easton residents generously offered some powerful information,” said Edward Meehan, PNLV Chairman of the Board. “I am grateful to those who participated in the town hall meetings. They are the leaders who will assure a better community for families and children. We are honored to offer our Promises to join with their hopes for the future.”
The EPN public meeting presentation can be downloaded as a PDF file here: http://promiseneighborhoodslv.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Easton-Environmental-Scan-01.30.pdf. So far the EPN staff has started to meet with childcare providers in order to get to know partners in the city. And the organization has started planning the inaugural EPN Block Party for July, similar to the one they held in Allentown last year. It also plans to administer a door-to-door survey from July through September that would allow neighborhood residents to help EPN identify needs in the designated West Ward area related to the organization’s Promises.
“We’re excited for the students and families in the West Ward of Easton. Promise Neighborhood of Allentown has been a significant partner for achieving our educational goals and we are seeing results,” said David Lewis, President of United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley. “The investment that the people of Easton put into this process will yield great outcomes, such as more children prepared for careers and becoming college ready. The children and their families deserve this opportunity.”
“I have been impressed with the extensive research, efforts to reach out to all of the neighborhoods under consideration, level of community input, and the transparency of the process followed to arrive at a decision on the location of the Easton Promise Neighborhood,” said Paul Brunswick, President of Two Rivers Health & Wellness Foundation and a PNLV Board Member. “I am confident that EPN will be a significant addition to the excellent established resources in the West Ward that continue to make great progress in tackling the challenging issues of this community.”
Inspired by the Harlem Children’s Zone, the U.S. Department of Education’s federal Promise Neighborhoods program is an initiative designed to break the cycle of generational poverty by wrapping children in a pipeline of health, social, and educational supports from birth through college. It utilizes efforts to mobilize residents, community partners, educational institutions, and business leaders to ensure the success of children from birth to career so they will thrive, succeed in school and become vital members in the community.
About Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley
Founded in 2007 by United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley, Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley unites residents and leaders from various sectors to ensure the success of children from birth through career. Promise Neighborhoods accomplishes its work through place-based, collective impact efforts. Its office is located at 1101 Hamilton Street, Suite 345 in Downtown Allentown. For more information, visit www.PromiseNeighborhoodsLV.org.