Power Tools for Neighborhoods

CFN graduation 2016

Center for Neighborhoods celebrates first class of newly empowered leaders and advocates

The first cohort of neighborhood leaders and advocates has graduated from the new Center for Neighborhoods  at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

The group of 26, representing 18 different Kansas City neighborhoods, spent 12 weeks in a Neighborhood Leadership Capacity Training program that started in June. Programming covered topics including neighborhood planning and development, health and safety, governance and leadership, and technology and communication.

The Center for Neighborhoods is a project of UMKC’s Department of Architecture, Urban Planning + Design. Missouri State Senator Shalonn (Kiki) Curls, a strong and early supporter of the Center, attended the graduation ceremony Aug. 29 and congratulated the neighborhood leaders, offering words of encouragement and support along with AUP+D Chair Joy Swallow, AUPD Prof. Jacob Wagner and Center for Neighborhoods Director Dina Newman.

Senator Curls graduation 2016

Missouri State Senator Shalonn (Kiki) Curls consults with Center director Dina Newman.

“We are so proud of these neighborhood leaders, advocates and residents who dedicated over two hours every Monday for 12 weeks to hone their leadership skills with the purpose of building capacity in their neighborhood associations,” Newman said. “Each neighborhood is different, so the goal of the program is to provide neighborhood leaders with a tool kit of capabilities to empower them to achieve whatever goals they set for their individual neighborhood. Our goal is for leaders and residents to be empowered, equipped and encouraged.”

The Center was created to help expand the capacity of neighborhood leaders and organizations in the Kansas City, Missouri area, providing technical assistance, leadership training and capacity building to address the challenges of neighborhood revitalization in Kansas City. The Center for Neighborhoods is located at 4747 Troost, Suite 222.

The Center will support community-based partnerships in urban planning that are the core mission of the AUP+D Department and a key component of UMKC’s urban mission.

Newman said another goal of the center is to foster collaboration among neighborhoods. By going through Center programs together, neighborhood leaders meet, form bonds and learn to become co-advocates for each other, eventually leading to a critical mass of neighborhood advocacy and activism across the city.

Before joining CFN, Dina Newman was Health Initiatives Manager and Advocate for Change at the Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council. Wagner, associate professor of Urban Planning + Design, is Faculty Director of the center. He is Director of UMKC’s Urban Studies Program.

For more information, contact the Center at neighborhoods@umkc.edu or 816-921-6931.