As part of our continuing efforts to increase the impact of our community resources, we are excited to introduce you to the 2021 Scholarship Cohort. Each month in 2021 we’ll interview a cohort scholar and learn why community is important to them.
This month we’ll meet Terri O’Neal, Community Engagement Coordinator with Life Remodeled, a Detroit, MI neighborhood development nonprofit.
Why do you believe in community management?
I come from invested and resourceful community work. My grandparents were active members of a resilient group of people. That investment was passed down to my parents, avid public servants, who instilled in me the value of serving my community. My youth extracurricular activities included school beautification projects, volunteering with neighborhood and faith-based groups, and participating in community cultural art initiatives. Throughout my life and career, I have strived to uphold my grandparents and my parents legacy for making their community a better place.
Furthermore, I remain inspired by resilient communities – ones that unify to press on in the face of adversity.
The power of community is bringing people from diverse backgrounds together for a common goal to create a better, more just world. As a community advocate, I work with primarily BIPOC neighborhoods that have experienced long-term disinvestment that require a significantly greater investment of time, understanding, persistence, and creativity to revive. I am proud to be helping so many people get the resources they need, especially during such a difficult time. I love meeting and collaborating with different people every day. I also love learning from people with such interesting lives.
What area of Community Management are you most interested in learning about?
I want to grow in the areas of engagement and strategy. My engagement would benefit from Moderation & Conflict Facilitation, and Member Advocacy & Support. Also, training in strategies such as Overall & Engagement, Strategy Development and Benchmarking, and Reporting will help in creating collaborative neighborhood action plans and partnerships.
Tell us about your current community role!
I serve as the Community Engagement Coordinator with Life Remodeled, a Detroit, MI neighborhood development nonprofit. In my role, I contribute to bridging people across opportunity divides through transformative experiences. I work with a team of staff, key community volunteers, residents, neighborhood block-clubs and collectives, and other local stakeholders to engage people in projects and programming at the Durfee Innovation Society, a local opportunity hub.
In addition, I facilitate events, communicate relevant resources, and solicit feedback to cultivate meaningful and sustainable community partnerships. Through creative problem-solving and intentional revitalization strategies, I help find impactful solutions to connect people with quality resources and opportunities that inspire radical change and hope in resilient communities.
I have worked in the community space in many capacities. I have experience as a community theater associate, community-based participatory researcher, organizer, block-club leader, volunteer, youth engagement coordinator, community event planner, community liaison, and community specialist.
Thanks, Terri! Watch this space for updates from Hannah and our other 2021 Scholarship Cohort members.
You can learn more about our 2021 Scholarship Cohort here.