The 8twelve Coalition brings people together in a structured way to achieve change — that is collective impact. Today we can see many completed activities and projects. However, the process is every bit as important, or perhaps more so, than the completed visible projects. The 8twelve Coalition focuses on the gifts, dreams, and concerns of residents to create and implement our work.
2021 Action Team Outcomes:
While 2021 continued to see swings within the construction industry, the 8twelve helped secure $50,000 that our housing partners braided with other funding sources and hundreds of hours of volunteer support. Together 6 new home constructions filled empty lots and 6 rehabs transformed blighted properties. Hope now fills these homes.
Two graduates from the Muncie Mission’s recovery program gained confidence in their sobriety and progress towards financial independence. A single mother worked incredibly hard for four years to find recovery from addiction, create stability with employment, and now homeownership with the help of Urban Light Community Development. ecoREHAB used funds to put a furnace into a house that was going to be used as a training site to help at-risk individuals learn skills in the construction industry. Muncie Habitat built new homes on empty lots which are now filled with families that are helping transform the 8twelve neighborhoods.
As new homeowner, Brandie, states, “I’m looking forward to making friends with the neighbors and having a yard. This home will improve the health of my family and me.” Cassie, after 22 moves, now is a new homeowner, and is looking forward to painting, having family dinners, and inviting friends and family over. “This house is ours and I am just so excited to make it feel like home for my family.”
The Beautification Action Team was busy this year replicating successful projects from years past. Once again, vacant abandoned lots were adopted by neighborhoods and voluntarily mowed. This is a huge win for the neighborhood — keeping down weeds, bugs, rodents, and keeping up the appearance of the neighborhood. The Avondale Community Garden got some sprucing up by Jeff Brubaker and Brian Carless. They added solar charging stations so neighbors visiting could charge cell phones and much more!
Free dumpsters were placed strategically in order to enhance the community clean-up efforts by both Thomas Park/Avondale and South Central neighborhood associations.
More metal sculptures were created and placed inside planters across the South Central Neighborhood. Over 12 new planters and businesses were engaged in this special beautification effort.
Finally, Habitat for Humanity installed a half-court basketball court adjacent to the pocket park on South Jefferson Street. This was the one item that teen residents requested as an addition to the neighborhood.
While this was a busy year, the impact is truly felt as residents begin to enjoy the beauty of their neighborhood
in new ways together.
Education & Family Engagement
In 2021, the Education and Family Engagement action team funded training opportunities for South View Elementary teachers and staff around trauma-informed care and mental health first aid. This training provides a better understanding of how trauma impacts a child’s development and learning. Trauma-informed strategies help teachers and staff effectively address problem behaviors in the school. The action team also supported scholarships so more families could take part in the preschool program at South View Elementary.
This team was also excited to launch the Small Sparks Education Grant, up to $500, to support education needs for residents. This included tuition help, childcare costs, book fees, transportation costs, supplies, and more. One awardee stated, “I am so excited to be starting school, and I was in need of a computer. My classes were online, and being able to apply for this money has allowed me to do what is needed for me to complete class and get my degree.”
The team continues to explore creative options in educating and spreading awareness to residents about the value of education and family engagement within the neighborhood and community.
Business & Wellness
The Business Action Team supported local businesses and community needs in a few new ways in 2021. Quarterly meetings for business leaders focused on networking and learning skills like employee retention and recruitment. Rosebud Coffee House and the Common Market are newer businesses which are providing places for neighbors and the community to gather and also participate in commerce within the Coalition. We were able to support improvements at each business to help them further their goals serving the community.
This action team has played a vital role in the Coalition, where lots of listening to residents and then working with organizational partners to create transformational changes occur. These often focus on system changes, and therefore take longer to see tangible outcomes. However, one outcome of this work was the creation of a Wellness Action Team. This new action team will focus on areas connected to health. Community outreach worker models, access to healthcare, innovative food security strategies, and substance use disorder care are all topics explored with exciting movements planned on 2022.