Aspire Program Spotlight: Community Matters
Good neighborhoods are the foundation of a strong community, which helps attract new residents and new businesses. The approach sounds simple, yet how can a community go about strengthening its neighborhoods? One group is already tackling this challenge.
The Aspire Community Matters team recently hosted Tiffany Woods from Neighbors of West Old Town Greenwood, who encouraged members to practice “micro-neighborliness.” She explained: “Choose one action and take a small step to connect to a neighbor you don’t know well and build a connection.” From there, a network of connections can be made and ultimately the neighborhood – and the entire community – will be strengthened. Woods added that increasingly, people are “staying put” due to “Place Attachment,” the emotional bond between a person and a place which is driven by positive events experienced there. Businesses are attracted to communities where people put down roots.
“Launched in 2013, Aspire Community Matters has been lauded as one of Indiana’s most unique community initiatives and has been recognized by state and national leaders as a model for community betterment,” said Christian Maslowski, Aspire President and CEO. “Our teams envision and execute projects that enhance our quality of life, improve our county and create economic opportunities.”
Aspire Community Development Specialist Jennifer Hollingshead coordinates the Aspire Community Matters program and provides leadership to the three volunteer teams and their projects. She explained that Aspire Community Matters is the leading community educational and engagement forum in Johnson County.
“This event series features guest speakers, panel discussions and various community and government partners to spotlight opportunities and successes in community development,” she said. Past and future topics include housing, food sourcing, public transit, trails, parks, homelessness, income and wages, early childhood education and more.” To learn more about the Aspire Community Matters group, click here.
Aspire volunteer community development teams also use this forum to share updates on their work, seek collaboration, and invite new volunteer support. These programs are open to all and members are encouraged to become involved. Learn about the other community development teams – Growth + Planning, Community Engagement and Talent Attraction + Retention – and opportunities to volunteer at this site.
“Dedicated volunteers are central to our community development and investor engagement success,” concluded Maslowski. “Aspire volunteers come from the community and private business sector. They work to position Johnson County more competitively in the marketplace.”