AJFCS Works with Ambassadors to Reshape Neighborhood
The largely African-American Coleman Park neighborhood of West Palm Beach has seen its share of challenges over the years. It’s up to the “movers and shakers” of the community to make a difference.
Staff from Federation’s partner agency Alpert Jewish Family & Children’s Service took a grassroots approach to make a positive change in honor of Black History Month.
They organized and engaged several ambassadors within the neighborhood to address challenges facing their area. The goal: make Coleman Park a healthier and more supportive place for individuals and families to live and thrive.
The efforts led to the creation and promotion of new programs to give the community a boost. This includes a seniors’ activity program and mentoring for kids in the neighborhood. The programs aim to make up for some of the shortcomings of the support offered by local public services.
Attempts to improve local neighborhoods through community “ambassadors” are all part of a non-traditional, community-building peer volunteer program through AJFCS, aptly called the Ambassadors Engagement Initiative® Program.
The connection between AJFCS and the community creates a living network of conversation and social action. Ambassadors work to devise better ways of solving common problems and supporting one another.
With a clear passion and reputation for engaging communities—particularly older adults and the baby-boomer demographic—AJFCS has been awarded a series of grants from the City of West Palm Beach and the Alliance for Children & Families to support leadership development and mentoring in Coleman Park.
AJFCS’ professional staff facilitates the recruitment of peer volunteers, supports life-long learning and the organization and mobilization of community residents. The Ambassadors of each community determine what their own focus will be in aiding their community for creating and maintaining mutual aid for the purpose of building “social capital.”
For more information on AJFCS’ Ambassadors Engagement Initiative® program, visit www.jfcsonline.com/volunteer.