Miami Community Leadership Forum

caines | 9/13/2012, 5:30 a.m.

Building a connection that works

Miami community members from several underserved neighborhoods came together to receive leadership and community engagement training at the Miami Community Leadership Forum on Sept. 8 and 9 at the Joseph Caleb Center. The event was hosted by the Neighborhood Housing Services of South Florida (NHSSF). Community members were able to build a connection with other attendees, and learn how leadership and engagement can benefit them and the community, said Latonda James of the NHSSF. Also, they were able to connect with professionals to learn about strategies, resources and best practices that they can use to build leadership skills. Instructors from the education sector, non-profit organizations and private sectors facilitated a series of workshops on leadership training, self-exploration, skills assessment and an overview of how to understand community issues and policies. For the last eight years, NHSSF has worked in the Brownsville area to help revitalize and stabilize the community, by informing residents on how to play an active role in the development of their neighborhood and collaborating with residents and stakeholders to stabilize neighborhoods and develop sustainable housing. A lot of our work is focused on the Brownsville community, but we understand that Brownsville doesnt stand alone, James said.

Helping leaders beyond Brownsville

At this event, they reached out to not only Brownsville residents but also others who live in similar neighborhoods, such as Liberty City, Little Haiti, Wynwood, Allapattah, Overtown and West Coconut Grove. Dianne Hicks-Rolle, who has lived in Brownsville for 13 years, said she enjoyed the event. She was informed about a lot of resources and how to deal with negativity when you are a community leader. She said the NHSSF is about empowerment, growth and development. It teaches you how to empower yourself so that you can empower other people in your community, she said. Hicks-Rolle, a resident board member of NHSSF, said she got involved because her community has a great history and she wants to see it thrive. She said she thinks more community members should be involved in helping their community. You would be leaving a legacy for the ones who are coming behind you, Hicks-Rolle said. Hicks-Rolle said she plans on becoming more involved in her community. She said she believes that the information given at the forum will help communities develop. The NHSSF is a hardworking company with good leadership, according to Hicks-Rolle. I dont think they have a hidden agenda other than to be successful, she said. The members of this organizations love what they are doing so they work hard on it. By Malika A. Wrightmwright@miamitimesonline.com