Neighborhood summit seeks to inspire hope in local communities

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — With constant health updates and information coming in from every angle, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Sometimes all you need is to take a step back and appreciate the simple things.

Although times may be uncertain, glimmers of hope have managed to shine through at the state, city, and local levels. That’s why hope was the focus of Wednesday night’s Great Neighborhood summit.

“Hope is a powerful tool. It’s a tool that brings people together, it gives people an opportunity to have a shared vision and a shared focus so that’s what we want to help them with,” explained Keri Asevedo, the executive director for Rockford Area Habitat for Humanity.

Communities within the Forest City are banding together through tough times with a little help from “Great Neighborhoods.”

“An organization like Great Neighborhoods gives structure to groups of neighbors that are already getting together,” Asevedo said.

Rockford Area Habitat for Humanity Director Keri Asevedo says neighborhood groups are just about crime and safety anymore.

“Instead of just simply doing neighborhood clean up days, or having block parties, neighborhoods can really evolve into this idea of a strategic plan, and talking about how are we going to make significant impact in our neighborhood, how are we going to help increase the value of the home,” she said.

The summit hosted in Rockford equipped neighborhood leaders with tips on asset mapping, strategic planning, and other community resources.

“In every quadrant of the city, people really love their neighborhoods,” explained one volunteer Gary Anderson.

Great Neighborhoods volunteer Gary Anderson says the path to inspiring hope among neighbors starts with a simple “hello.”

“There’s a lot of things that we found that were somewhat old fashioned, that I grew up experiencing… whether it’s a welcome basket, or a friendly hello or a meal or a pie or whatever, just a welcoming gift,” Anderson said.

To find out more on how to get involved with your neighborhood, click here.

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