Written by Linda Weaver, NeighborWorks Waco Board of Directors
One of the biggest assets NeighborWorks Waco is equipped with is the NeighborWorks network. Not only does NWW have access to resources provided by NeighborWorks America, but the organization is also able to learn from other NeighborWorks organizations across the country. One of those benefits is a Peer-to-Peer Visit, an organized way to learn from other nonprofits through. This program, offered by NeighborWorks America, allows network organizations to apply to either serve as hosts, offering to share what they’ve learned, or visit others and benefit from their lessons learned.
One year ago, a Neighbor Works Waco team of three, including myself, attended a NeighborWorks America Peer to Peer Visit in Des Moines, Iowa. We were warmly greeted by Community Housing Initiatives’ team, and the learning (and fun!) began.
We were first introduced to local city leaders in Des Moines who played key roles in the Community Housing Initiatives and funding for a variety of programs. We toured several multi-family housing properties and were introduced to managers, the activity director, and many of the residents. We were also afforded the opportunity to review the program’s operational budget.
Personally, my take away from the visit was a tour of a multilevel, empty school house that we were fortunate enough to attend. Although, to many, this space may seem dilapidated, Community Housing Initiatives could see a future for this structure; their vision was to create housing for artists. Community Housing Initiatives planned to even include gallery space so that the resident artists could show off their hard work. The best part? The potential rent in this envisioned housing space could be as low as $300 per month!
Although we did a lot of learning during this trip, we also were able to have a little bit of fun! During our time in Des Moines, we were blessed with a trip to the Iowa State Fair, where we enjoyed different fried foods and bonded as a team.
I cannot say enough about this Peer-to-Peer experience. The trip was well-planned and structured to encourage envisioning and planning for future projects at NeighborWorks Waco. Thank you to NeighborWorks Waco, NeighborWorks America, and Community Housing Initiatives!
Since 2015, Linda Weaver has volunteered her knowledge and time on NeighborWorks Waco’s Board of Directors. Like many of our board members, Linda is highly involved in the goings-on at NeighborWorks Waco. She manages Brazos E Event Center in East Waco and involved heavily in the Central Texas African American Chamber of Commerce. She loves East Waco and enjoys spending time in the community.
Check out more about Linda’s take-away and these planned apartments: Community Housing Initiatives’ website.