EAST ST LOUIS ACTION RESEARCH PROJECT

[ Update ]

Newsletter

April/May 2001

Contents

ESLARP JOB OPPORTUNITY

Neighborhood Technical Assistance Center (NTAC) in East St. Louis, IL, a unit of The East St. Louis Action Research Project (ESLARP)

Title: Project Coordinator (academic professional)

Duties: Acts as the director of NTAC, in East St. Louis, manages the work of a professional staff and volunteers, and is responsible for planning, managing and evaluating the delivery of a wide-range of organizing, planning, design and management services to enhance the organizational capacity of neighborhood associations, community development corporations, and public agencies pursuing neighborhood improvement projects in East St. Louis and surrounding areas. The Project Coordinator reports NTAC activities and budgeted and actual expenses monthly and annually, and is responsible for grant writing and fund raising.

See the entire advertisement at: http://www.eslarp.uiuc.edu/job/

SPRING 2001 FINAL CLASS PROJECTS

ARCH372/LA338 A Collaborative, Interdisciplinary ESLARP Studio Workshop: An interdisciplinary studio engaged in participatory design/planning to revitalize and improve quality of life in the Lansdowne neighborhood of East St. Louis.

Final student projects can be seen at: http://www.eslarp.uiuc.edu/la/LA338-S01/

UP378 Community Development Workshop: The Community Development Workshop introduces students to the community development practice, from an empowerment planning perspective. Workshop students will cooperate with leaders of East St. Louis' Lansdowne Neighborhood Steering Committee in designing a five-year revitalization plan for their community.

The preliminary plan can be seen at: http://www.eslarp.uiuc.edu/durp/UP378-S01/

VIRGINIA PARK PROJECT

The Department of Leisure Studies, under the guidance of Dr. Bruce Wicks, is joining the East St. Louis Action Research Project (ESLARP) to help maintain Virginia Park at a level that will facilitate greater neighborhood use and involvement. In addition to returning to the park on a regular basis to perform routine maintenance, the department hopes to being a series of small improvement projects that will cumulatively make a significant difference to this area of East St. Louis and its children.

Read more about it at: http://www.eslarp.uiuc.edu/clips/virginiapark01/

EAST ST. LOUIS PARK DISTRICT REPORT, SPRING 2001

This report was developed to provide a limited update to the 1980 Action Plan developed for the East St. Louis Park District. This report is not designed or meant to replace the existing 1980 report. Instead, this report will focus on updating population information, demographics, East St. Louis Park district equipment and current renovations. An updated plan will help the park district and city officials determine the needs of East St. Louis communities and recreation plans for the future.

Read the entire report at: http://www.eslarp.uiuc.edu/ntac/resources/ParkReport01/

MARCH OUTREACH WEEKEND

The East St. Louis Action Research Project (ESLARP) hit East St. Louis last weekend with a vengeance. Over seventy volunteers, faculty, and staff took on nine different jobs, and implemented a neighborhood wide summit in the Lansdowne neighborhood. These energetic students did everything from building a park (from start to finish for the people of the Bride of Christ Church), to boarding up windows on two old schools, to putting in playground equipment for a local faith-based child care center. ESLARP also had the distinct privilege of having ESLARP alumni join us with their expertise and great stories of the past. ESLARP has had an outstanding year thanks to all the people that helped in the implementation of the outreach weekends, plus the superior help from all the student volunteers that make it all happen.

Read more about the weekend at: http://www.eslarp.uiuc.edu/outreach/0103/

NTACnews

The Neighborhood Technical Assistance Center (NTAC) is ESLARP's local office in East St. Louis. NTACnews is their quarterly newsletter featuring updates from local partnering organizations and information of interest to local neighborhood associations and non-profit agencies.

Take a look at the current copy of NTAC News at: http://www.eslarp.uiuc.edu/ntac/ntacnews/

An RA's reflection on working with ESLARP, by Janni Sorensen

I started working for ESLARP in the fall of 1998. It was a hectic time with lots of RA's working on different projects, me being the latest addition to the group. It was also a very friendly group that quickly managed to make new people feel comfortable and welcome. The nature of the work we do, is that it involves lots of people and lots of organizations and it takes you a while before you can keep up in conversations because you just don't know who and what people are talking about. But slowly you start to understand and before you know it you are the "Oldest" RA, not only in regards to the year you were born but also in the time you worked for ESLARP.

I enjoy being a longtime member of our community most of all because I feel that I am now able to contribute to the important work we do, where in the beginning most of my time was spent on learning how to do this kind of work from the faculty, staff and other RA's that had been involved longer than I. With experience come great opportunities. This semester I got the chance to teach our urban planning community development course, a course I had TA'ed in the past. I was very excited to get this opportunity but also a little nervous, it was after all a great responsibility.

When thinking back about the planning phase of the course I realize that the ESLARP network is very helpful for anyone starting out as a new teacher. The fact that the class had been taught many times in the past gave me a great foundation, but also ideas for how I could make little changes to improve things. A key thing that we changed was to increase the interdisciplinary component of the course, and I think we did this with success even though we also generated a lot of ideas for making this even better. It was good for me as a new instructor to work with experienced faculty on developing this interdisciplinary concept. When we started the work in Lansdowne it was key to our involvement that the NTAC staff had already developed a relationship with the Lansdowne Steering committee and were able to introduce us to the community. And finally it was great with all the assistance ESLARP could provide in planning every detail of the work weekends. It makes me feel very good that we have this network in place to help the new faculty members that will be involved in our work starting this fall.

The most rewarding experience for me this semester was to see how involved the students became. Each and every one of them seemed to take personal responsibility for making sure that we produced a high quality product. From the beginning of the course I had decided that I wanted to give the students a little more freedom and a little more control over the process compared to my experience as a TA in the class. I was a little nervous doing this but planned to monitor things closely and change the approach if necessary. The students did even better than I had expected, they took on the tasks they were assigned and worked quite independently in groups, using the resources I provided in a very professional manner. Throughout the semester we took time out in class to discuss the process and we implemented several of the student's ideas both in the classroom and in the Lansdowne meetings. I think this was very important for keeping the students excited, and it makes sense to me that we try to be as participatory as we can not only in the community but also in the classroom.


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Last modified: 05 June 2001, Deanna Koenigs
EAST ST LOUIS ACTION RESEARCH PROJECT