Building Blocks helps participating residents in Kalamazoo’s central city neighborhoods build community, to strengthen and revitalize their neighborhoods through two programs:
This program provides a platform for residents to come together to establish relationships as they cooperate on home improvement projects. These cooperative work projects foster on-going communications, build capacity, develop mutual trust, promote a sense of neighborhood pride and improve quality of neighborhood life.
Encouraged by organizers, residents themselves help to mobilize their neighbors, decide on priorities, and make final funding decisions. They seek donations, contribute special expertise, and assume primary responsibility for completing their own work projects. Most residents report feeling empowered, energized and connected to their neighbors in new ways after completing this Building Blocks program.
This program builds off of the Traditional Program by supporting Traditional Program sites over the course of a number of years to build a block-level group with the capacity to identify a vision for their neighborhood and act to implement steps necessary to achieving their vision. Through the Sustained Organizing Program, block-level groups of residents become autonomous and independent and are equipped to successfully network with local agencies, government entities and each other to mobilize resources and drive the development of their area and improve the overall quality of life.