[The following is a reprinted letter to the editor, originally published in November’s Concordia News.]
As a newcomer to Portland it is difficult for me to identify a community need that is not already being dealt with by some group or individual. In the six months I have lived in Portland I have been impressed by the awareness, determination, and creativity of citizens in finding solutions to the problems found in their communities.
I am an AmeriCorps volunteer through the Northwest Service Academy this year. As part of that program I will lead a Community Action Project. The only requirements for this project are that it has to serve a need of the community, and I have to lead the effort. I can do anything from leading a team to clean up a park, to coordinating a community event, to planting a garden. My job placement is with Southeast Uplift Neighborhood Coalition, which is great, but I really want this project to happen in my own community in Northeast Portland.
I have spent some time over the past few weeks trying to think of a way I can help my neighborhood with this project, but then it occurred to me that maybe a better approach would be to let the neighborhood suggest to me what there is a need for. I will be attending the Concordia Neighborhood’s General Meeting on November 6th to introduce myself and to listen to suggestions and ideas for the community project. I hope anyone who has an idea will come talk about it with me to help me make the most of this opportunity to do something helpful with my new community.
NWSA AmeriCorps Volunteer