Voices of the Promise Zone – Lucia Esther, West Powelton/Saunders Park RCO
Lucia Esther and Chuck Bode began their RCO with just two or three people attending. Now, one hundred and twenty five people are members of the RCO and up to forty people regularly attend the monthly meetings. Lucia is involved in her community in other ways; she currently sits on the advisory committee for the police station, the 30th Street Planning group, and the University City high school site, to name a few.
During the listening session, Lucia explained how important it is to maintain community relationships. One example she cited was the Wiota Street Garden; she said that this particular green space allows community members to have a dialogue. People within the community can come out to that space to grow healthy food, discuss recipes, and become familiar with who lives in the area.
Lucia described some challenges for the economically diverse community. She explained that youth within the community are all not connected to opportunities, and that some programs which once ran in neighborhood schools are no longer operating. Some students within the neighborhoods are not fully equipped for certain jobs that serve their communities. For example, a lot of students do not have access to construction education, and residents want greater opportunity to work on large developments that are coming to their community.
When asked what inspires and motivates her to do the work that she does within the community, Lucia described how moving it is to hear someone say “thank you.” She also finds it powerful to help someone who has never been helped before by improving their quality of life in some way.
Lucia would like her community to be more stable, with hopes that the transient population will become more engaged with the existing community while being courteous of the community space. She believes that it would create a positive change by impacting how people within the community relate to one another. For instance, when more people stay within the community and support local businesses, the community can continue to grow as a whole.
The West Powelton/Saunders Park RCO has monthly meetings every second Thursday of the month at 7pm at 4100 Haverford Avenue. If you are interested in attending a West Powelton/Saunders Park RCO meeting please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.