When Building Our Future was formed, the Kenosha Community emphasized that our collective impact work would only go as fast as the community's trust would let it. To this end, Building Our Future staff and partners have convened community members on a monthly basis since 2018. These efforts have built social capital, space, and momentum for the community to take action in supporting schools and improving educational outcomes.
Bright Spots & Systems Transformation
In 2021, members of our Collaborative Community Network rolled up their sleeves and got to work identifying neighborhood priorities, setting goals, and organizing community members toward achieving those goals. Of the many actions that were taken, three priorities stand out to be highlighted:
OPERATION NEIGHBORHOOD COMMUNITY (ONC)
The ONC was created to bring community members from all walks of life together in the spirit of beautifying the neighborhood and highlighting local businesses in the Lincoln Park/Uptown Brass area. Particularly important after the civil unrest in 2020, this group wanted to remind Kenosha County residents about Uptown’s assets. This partnership, led by a small group of CommUNITY Conversations members, brought together over 50 businesses, nonprofits, government entities, child care centers, educators, law enforcement, and youth at six neighborhood cleanups and community events in 2021. Businesses contributed space, supplies, and meals to bring the
community together. Complementing the Uptown-focused cleanups, activities included face painting, Halloween costume giveaways, movie nights, and other family-friendly attractions.
MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS
Stemming from our Lincoln Park Collaborative Community Network, this action team was created through the lens of a high school student who wanted to make the conversation around mental and behavioral health more common for students. The awareness sparked an energy that motivated adults within the CCN to support this student in her efforts, but also inspired broader action, including:
AFFORDABLE HOUSING / KENOSHA INNOVATION NEIGHBORHOOD
Wilson Heights Collaborative Community Network created a space for community members to voice their concerns about affordable housing, particularly as it relates to the stability of families and students. As a result of housing being raised as a significant challenge in the community, BOF convened a joint CCN and invited City of Kenosha officials to hear residents’ feedback and share more about the work around the Kenosha Innovation Neighborhood (KIN). Because of existing relationships and social capital within the Lincoln Park and Wilson Heights neighborhoods, BOF was able to create an accessible and welcoming space for a multiracial group of community advocates—including youth and parents, small businesses, educators and youth sports coaches, law enforcement, and child care providers—to share their concerns, experiences, and feedback with City officials.
For more information about either, or to get involved in another way, email email@example.com.
Lincoln Park/Uptown Collaborative Community Network gatherings are held the 4th Thursday of the month from 6:00 to 7:30 PM in person at Brass Community School's cafeteria.
Wilson Heights Collaborative Community Network gatherings are held the 4th Wednesday of the month from 6:00 to 7:30 PM in person at Wilson Elementary School's library (Please enter through door #8).
"As a resident, an Uptown business owner who just lost their business in August 2020, and president of UKI, I wanted to bridge Kenosha community and the suffering business district in Uptown Kenosha. Through weekly meetings, idea forming, and lots of listening, we set forth to make history with an intentional focus to highlight Lincoln-Brass-Uptown neighborhood and its greatest assets!"
Owner, Bellissima Boutique
President, Uptown Kenosha Inc. (UKI)
“We can't keep doing the same thing, expecting different results. It takes a village to raise our children and it will take everyone working together to ensure that every
child is given the opportunity to get the best education that is available to them, from cradle to career.”
Executive Director at the Shalom Center