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Deadline for Building Bridges photo entries is almost here

Are you a downtown Allentown resident?
Then share pictures of live in the Queen City with the Building Bridges Project and show us what life is like for you and your family.
The deadline is fast approaching!
http://www.buildingbridgesproject.org

 

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EPN & Paxinosa School to launch West Ward Collective Impact Team

Earlier this year EPN released the results of its 2015 Neighborhood Survey of West Ward residents in Easton. That report acted as a springboard for its nonprofit community partners, school district representatives, business leaders, funders, government officials and residents to work together on addressing the many issues that families living in that community (Census tract 142) are dealing with.

Paxinosa Elementary School Community School Director Ashley Sciora met with EPN Manager Ammar Sharif to begin the conversation on how to help solve those issues.

Now a new initiative called the West Ward Collective Impact Team is being formed. Community leaders, decision makers, and key influencers in Easton have been invited to attend quarterly meetings to discuss the four key areas that have already been identified:

  • Early Learning
  • Housing/Safety
  • K-16 Education
  • Health

The first Collective Impact Team meeting will take place later this spring; date, time and location are still to be determined. After reviewing the results of the EPN report data, the group will decide what to work on first. Attending partner agencies are invited to bring their own data long to the meeting to share with the group.

Sub-groups will be created for the four focus areas so that each can tackle specific tasks. After this initial meeting a schedule for subsequent quarterly meetings will be developed.

Community members and residents are also invited and encouraged to attend. Anyone interested in joining us should contact Ammar Sharif at  610.438.4327 or ammars@nullpromiseneighborhoodslv.org.

 

 

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Get to know the PNLV Staff: Amanda Raudenbush, Allentown Promise Neighborhood Manager

Amanda head shot1. How long have you been with PNLV as the APN manager, and what brought you to this role?

I have been with PNLV as the APN manager since July 2014. I was drawn to this role since it combines two of my passions: urban planning and education. I have over 10 years of experience as an urban planner as well as a number of years as an educator at an urban high school. I recognize that the advancement of cities and residents comes from a multitude of issues being addressed simultaneously. Working at PNLV allows me the opportunity to be involved with many different issues at once and view progress holistically.

2. What is the single most important thing you have learned about the residents of downtown Allentown so far?

The residents of downtown Allentown are a fun bunch! They love to have fun at our Block Party and at our monthly resident dinners. I appreciate the patience they have shown with me when trying to teach me the finer points of a game of dominoes. I will win one day!

3. What do you think the results of last summer’s APN Neighborhood Survey have to teach us about the residents of downtown Allentown and how APN can best help them?

Through our survey, I learned that many of the assumptions that are commonly held regarding our residents are simply not true. I am proud of the work we have done to gain the trust of the residents and that they allow us, through the survey, to act as their voice at the table. I believe that true change happens when those receiving assistance are able to have a voice in what interventions are needed and what they should look like, rather than a top down approach.

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Get to know the PNLV Staff: Ammar Sharif, Easton Promise Neighborhood Manager

Ammar Headshot1. How long have you worked for PNLV and what do you do there?

I’ve worked at PNLV for a year and 12 days, but who’s counting?  I am the Easton Promise Neighborhood Manager, which up until this point has involved creating relationships with potential partners and residents in Easton, and learning all I can about the Easton community.

2. What did you find most interesting about the research you did on Easton and the quality of life of the city’s residents?

I found it all interesting and I loved wading through all of it. I especially enjoyed sharing it and getting the residents’ input, analysis, and reactions.  The most interesting piece of information didn’t come from my presentation, but instead the experience itself.  It was incredible seeing all of these residents of Easton turning out at the town hall meetings because they cared about their city. We saw residents ranging from students to senior citizens and all races who were eager to share their opinions and insights.

3. How do you think establishing an Easton Promise Neighborhood will help residents in the West Ward neighborhood?

I thin hope that establishing the Easton Promise Neighborhood in West Ward will help the neighborhood in whatever ways it most needs. The beauty of our work is it is data driven. We’re not coming in with an already-established agenda. We’re coming in with our survey based around our nine Promises to identify the needs in the community. Then we will work to address them. Identifying the needs, then connecting the service providers with those who need their services will be where we can help residents the most.

4. What’s your favorite part of the work you do for PNLV?

I’ve really enjoyed just about all the work I’ve done so far. My coworkers are great, the people we work with from other organizations are great, and I really believe in what we’re all coming together to accomplish. If I had to pick one thing, I think it would be the contact we have with the residents. I will always fondly remember Earth Day 2014 when I stood on our old office’s doorstep calling to residents to ask if they’d gotten their free potted tulip from PNLV yet.

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Easton Promise Neighborhood Town Hall Meetings

Ammar Sharif on our staff has been hard at work compiling data regarding residents in the four neighborhoods of the City of Easton.

This data will be presented to the public at a number of public Town Hall meetings to include the citizens of Easton in the discussion that will help determine the best place to create an Easton Promise Neighborhood.

These Town Hall meetings will be held this fall, so keep your eyes peeled for dates and get involved!

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ALLENTOWN PROMISE NEIGHBORHOOD TO HOST FIRST BLOCK PARTY FOR RESIDENTS JULY 26

Allentown Promise Neighborhood will host its first neighborhood block party in conjunction with Habitat for Humanity of the Lehigh Valley and Lehigh Valley Health Network’s Community Exchange on Saturday, July 26 from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. The event is part of a larger downtown-wide block party being coordinated by Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley and Community Action Development Corporation of Allentown.

Created to bring neighborhood residents together, the event will feature more than 20 information tables from local non-profit groups, food and beverages, a salsa dancing demonstration, games for children, face painting, a bouncy house, and a stage for musical performances and other entertainment. The APN block party is rain or shine and will take place on 8th Street in downtown Allentown between Chew and Gordon Streets.

Founded in 2007, Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley unites residents and leaders from various sectors to ensure the success of children from birth through career. The Allentown Promise Neighborhood serves a nine-square-block neighborhood of the city’s downtown, known as Old Allentown Historic District. A subsidiary of the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley, PNLV accomplishes its work through place-based, collective impact efforts, like Allentown Promise Neighborhood. Its office is located at 347 N. 8th Street in Downtown Allentown. For more information, visit www.PromiseNeighborhoodsLV.org.

Habitat for Humanity of the Lehigh Valley is a non-profit organization that works to build and repair simple, decent homes for hardworking, disadvantaged families in the Lehigh Valley while helping to revitalize and stabilize neighborhoods. Habitat LV’s Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative concentrates resources in target neighborhoods so they can be transformed into vibrant, safe, and inviting places to live for both current and future residents. The goal of this broader community development strategy is the long-term strengthening of communities within the City of Allentown.

Community Exchange is a program of Lehigh Valley Health Network in which volunteers exchange their skills and services for someone else’s skills and services. Members can use their interactive database to find someone who can help or someone to whom you can offer help. Community Exchange is affiliated with the Time Banks USA. It originated in the U.S. in the mid-1980s when civil rights lawyer Edgar Cahn developed “time dollars” as a new currency to provide a solution to cuts in government spending on social welfare. He reasoned if there isn’t enough money to fix all the problems facing our country and society, why not create a new kind of money to pay people for what needs to be done?

 

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Mental Health Awareness Month

We invite you to join us this Thursday 5/22 from 5-6 p.m. for a program on mental health stigma.

Find out how you can help and support someone you love who is living with mental health issues.

Mental health Awareness back of flyer pdf Mental health Awareness front of flyer pdf

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Earth Day 2014 recap – colorful tulips and lots of smiles!

APN staff met with neighborhood residents and handed out over 250 tulips and pinwheels to celebrate Earth Day and reach out to the community.

Men, women, and children all received plants. Colorful pinwheels and plants could be seen all over the neighborhood.

Neighborhood Health Centers of the Lehigh Valley was also there to spread awareness about free health services they provide in Center City Allentown.

We’d like to say a big THANK YOU to the employees of the Home Depot in Whitehall for donating the volunteer hours and pots to plant the tulips!

 

Earth day 2014

Earth Day flowers

 

earth day 2014 flowers

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Living healthy in the APN

We would like to encourage you to live healthy. Healthy people make healthy residents, and healthy residents make a healthy community!

Access to healthy foods, maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and access to mental health services are important pillars in an active and healthy neighborhood.

Help support a healthy Allentown Promise Neighborhood and Lehigh Valley. Learn more about health preparedness and disease prevention by visiting the PA Department of Health and the Allentown Health Bureau websites:

http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/department_of_health_home/17457

http://www.allentownpa.gov/Government/Departments-Bureaus/Health-Bureau

 

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APN Calendar of Events

Allentown Promise Neighborhood wants to spread the word about community events happening in the neighborhood, and encourage community involvement!

If you are interested in learning about community events, please visit our website calendar to learn about what’s happening: http://promiseneighborhoodslv.org/calendar/

Also, if you would like to post important happenings in the neighborhood, contact us!