Where you live matters! Making a lasting impact on the quality of life in the neighborhood requires a shared vision and commitment of it’s citizens and organizations.
A neighborhood collaborative strengthening social capital to promote a safe and thriving community.
Community Advisory Board
As a resident driven initiative, our Community Advisory Board (CAB) provides one avenue for residents and stakeholders to play an active role in the efforts provided in the South End community. The CAB is typically comprised of 50% residents, 25% businesses and 25% professionals from the Bester community meet to guide and hold accountable the ongoing activities of the Bester Community of Hope operation. In addition to the Community Advisory Board, the Community of Hope is an active listener and resource to the four City of Hagerstown Neighborhoods 1st groups located in the Bester Elementary catchment area.
Bester Community of Hope partners with a core group of neighborhood resident leaders as experiential experts to serve as direct catalysts of change in the South End. These Ambassador’s receive annual trainings and clearances before providing direct service in the community and often accompany a stipend to compensate for their investment.
WHAT IS A NEIGHBORHOOD AMBASSADOR?
“Invested community resident that are prepared to provide a safe and caring environment for children as well as other adults in their neighborhoods maintaining consistent and positive interactions with those who they encounter. Neighborhood Ambassador’s become representatives of their neighbors in outreach opportunities as well as in conversations to identify supports and solutions to community concerns and motivate others to engage in building a safe, hopeful, and connected community.”
Interested in becoming a Neighborhood Ambassador, contact Joan Balbuena, Neighborhood Partnership Coordinator at 240-513-6370 EXT 1 or email@example.com
Building strategic community partnerships
As a coalition of community stakeholders identify strategic needs or resource needs, we function as a link to bridge the gap. Examples include co-location of services in the neighborhood such as access to adult continuous learning, capacity development, environmental improvements and engaging in positive relationship building with law enforcement. Tapping into the most important resource available in the neighborhood, residents, will allow greater capacity for progress.
A core component of the BCOH initiative focuses on strengthening the individual and collective social capital of residents and stakeholders as a primary mechanism for building and sustaining a safe and thriving community. Initiative stakeholders are provided with a variety of opportunities to develop or strengthen relevant skills as well as cultivate and maintain positive social connections with those in and outside the neighborhood. Trainings are provided directly by BCOH staff as well as through collaborations with local, national and international experts. Please visit our calendar for upcoming training opportunities.
Better Together: Acts of Service
Bester Community of Hope (BCOH) hosts monthly events for residents and stakeholders to engage in acts of community services to promote social connection and community pride. Events are directly inspired by resident feedback regarding neighborhood needs. Do you have any ideas or suggestions? Please connect with Joan Balbuena, Neighborhood Partnership Coordinator at 240-513-6370 EXT 1 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Partnerships with local Houses of Faith
BCOH, through a partnership with the Hagerstown Area Religious Council (HARC) and the houses of faith located in the South End, strategically collaborate on a shared vision to provide neighborhood residents access to concrete needs, social connection, and opportunities for ongoing support. These opportunities have included food drops, resource fairs, in-home family support services, community gatherings, crisis response, and activities for youth.
#spreadHOPE Together Boxes
One of the many collaborative responses to support children and families during the COVID-19 pandemic, BCOH facilitated the development and implementation of the “Together Boxes.” Through a joint effort with Ladders to Leaders, St. John’s Episcopal Church, St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Otterbein United Methodist Church, and Emmanuel United Methodist Church, four boxes were built and installed in the South End to provide families with access to activities they can enjoy with their children and tips on building family resilience, promoting healthy social-emotional development of children, and other protective factors aimed to help families thrive. Activities are added weekly and sponsored by various community partners.
Having Fun Is Priority
There is no better way to build community and promote social connection than through FUN! BCOH hosts a variety of annual events to strengthen the web of support and cohesion in the neighborhood. Our belief is that these events create a ripple effect of neighborhood connections that reduces isolation and improves quality of life.
Every fall, BCOH honors the vibrancy, diversity, strength, and resiliency of the South End community by hosting the annual South End Community Block Party. Every spring, BCOH celebrates parents-to-be and families of young children by throwing an epic community baby shower, Babypalooza. In addition to family fun activities and entertainment, these events give residents an opportunity to connect with resource vendors who provide access to concrete supports and direct connection to services.