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I attended a community meeting discussing issues facing the Austin neighborhood, and was asked if I wanted to participate in Every Block A Village. I joined and became a Citizen Leader because I wanted to be a part of the decisions affecting us and connect with like-minded people. I feel more empowered because of EBV, and I’m inspired by the power and sense of responsibility WHA’s efforts instill in residents and especially youth. I am rewarded personally with every effort and event I participate in, and feel like a part of a wider vision and solution for my community.

- Marshawn Feltus

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Community organizing is the cornerstone of our work, and drives each of our numerous and varied efforts. Our agency exists and continues to expand largely due to the concerted efforts of invested community members. From planning family-oriented events advocating for the development of Austin’s state-of-the-art Wellness Center, our network of dedicated residents do all that they can to instill senses of community and of hope amongst their neighbors. The ripple effect of their actions helps us engage additional residents, gauge our efficacy, and improve our impact.

  • Every Block a Village – Inspired by the African proverb, WHA’s EBV program asks “If it takes a village to raise a child, what does it take to create a village.” Recalling a time when neighbors did more to take care of each other, EBV began as an effort to establish connections and create a support network throughout Austin, one block at a time. Citizen leaders trained in the program hold meetings and events to engage local residents and to address specific concerns (e.g., health, nutrition, safety, etc).
  • Chicago Equal Voice – Funded by the Marguerite Casey Foundation, this program is designed to recruit families to participate in civic engagement, advocacy, and leadership training.
  • Community Advisory and Support Council – WHA is a member of and directs the activities of the Community Support Advisory Council-West (CSAC-West), a collaboration of agencies on the Westside of Chicago who work together to provide for the all of the needs of the formerly incarcerated. This network of partner agencies provides a comprehensive scope of services which augments the direct services provided by WHA.
  • The Coalition for Community Banking formed in response to the FDIC’s seizure of Park National Bank, one of the sole financial service providers to Chicago’s Westside communities. Comprised of private, neighborhood, not-for-profit, and faith-based groups, the Coalition works in partnership with US Bank to
    • Provide access to affordable credit and quality financial services for low-income families and local small businesses.
    • Promote community investments necessary to revitalize local economies and rebound from the foreclosure crisis.
    • Support programs that provide financial literacy services and foreclosure prevention counseling.
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