EAST ST LOUIS ACTION RESEARCH PROJECT

[ Update ]

Neighborhood News

Volume I Issue 4 November/December 1997

Fall 1997 Community Outreach Weekends

University and Neighborhoods Partner to Get Things Done!

The University of Illinois and over 10 community partners in East St. Louis completed three community outreach weekends this Fall. East St. Louis Community Outreach Weekends brought together over 350 students, staff, faculty and residents who completed projects at 15 sites across the city of East St. Louis on September 26 and 27, October 17-18th and November 14-15th.

These weekends allow both residents and students to learn from each other and at the same time complete valuable community development projects. Throughout the weekends participants are given the opportunity to discuss their ideas about the work the East St. Louis Action Research Project and its community partners are undertaking in the city. Students also are encouraged to talk about how their expectations compared to their actual experiences.

Highlights

It is truly amazing the amount of work that was completed by community volunteers and students. Some of the highlights from these three weekends are described in the following pages:

Alta Sita Neighborhood

Virginia Park:

An architecture studio (Arch 371) led by Professor Jeff Poss completed several improvement projects in Virginia Park. The projects included rebuilding two sandboxes, clearing brush, and picking up litter. The studio class is working on designs for a new pavilion in Virginia Park, and the Outreach Weekend provided the students with the opportunity to make some lasting improvements to the project site.

Virginia Place Home Repairs:

Volunteers cleared overgrown brush and branches from the yard and removed a large amount of trash.

They also helped winterize the home and made a permanent improvement by constructing a new deck for the house.

Neighborhood Clean Up:

Students and Alta Sita residents spent the second weekend completing various small neighborhood clean up projects.

They cleaned 17 lots, backyards and basements, spruced up their mini-park, cleaned up around a new house intended for a low-income family, and demolished and re-constructed a fence in one backyard.

Lansdowne Neighborhood

University and Americorps Team Up for Clean Up

Volunteers cleared vacant lots that had become dangerously overgrown in the Lansdowne neighborhood. While managing to avoid the poison ivy, fifteen students worked with Americorps volunteers to help remove the neighborhood eyesores.

Students and Americorps volunteers cleaned sites on 37th, 41st and 43rd street. The lots were overgrown and filled with garbage. Volunteers cut a lot of the trees/bushes down and then cleared the branches and clipped the smaller trees. They also picked up about 30 bags full of garbage. The Lansdowne Improvement Association has been active in clearing many lots and has also developed several pocket parks in the Lansdowne neighborhood.

Olivette Park Neighborhood

7th Street Scrape Up/Paint Up

A group of students painted a house in the Olivette Park neighborhood. After scraping away the badly deteriorating paint on the home, the students applied fresh coats of paint, (gray on the top, white on the bottom), making the residence appear almost brand new.

Dunham Centers Improvements

Students cleaned and mowed the grounds of the Dunham Dynamic Museum, removed a rotting back porch from another property, and cleared a large amount of brush.

Bolden Community Garden Landscaping Project

As part of ESL CAN's URP's Project, a team of students, youth workers and staff completed a major landscaping project at the Bolden Community Garden at 14th and Summit. Over 150 trees, bushes and plants were planted by volunteers.

Carver Community Center

Site Clean Up

Work continued on the Carver Community Center in the Goose Hill neighborhood. The students cleared and cleaned the grounds of the Center in preparation for a new playground. In addition, they did some painting on the inside of the Center and refurbished a basketball hoop. The Carver Center, in association with North End Missionary Baptist Church also hosted lunch for volunteers.

Mt. Sinai Church

Computer Mania

A team of University computer experts helped set up several new computers in Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church (Rev. Herman Watson, pastor). The computers were obtained from University surplus and will provide neighborhood residents with access to a multitude of educational computer programs.

Several neighborhood children took advantage of Mt. Sinai's "Computer Mania" workshop, as they were instructed on how to use the computers.

Edgemont

Community Outreach and Land Use Surveys

Every home in the Edgemont neighborhood had its door knocked on by University students and neighborhood residents. The Edgemont Neighborhood Association utilized the University assistance to distribute flyers promoting the neighborhood organization. In addition, in mid-November students helped the neighborhood association update its land use and building condition survey of properties.

Winstanley Industry Park Neighborhood

Farmer's Market Clean Up and Closing

Students battled bees and other hazards as they cleared refuse, overgrown weeds, and brush from the East. St. Louis Farmer's Market. The Market, built with University assistance, just completed its fourth year of successful operation. The Farmers Market will re-open in May of 1998.

A group of 15 students also helped clear out an apartment building on Gaty Avenue which the neighborhood organization plans to rehab to develop four new affordable rental units in the Winstanley/Industry Park neighborhood.

Illinois Avenue Playground

Clean Up

Students did a quick clean-up of this park, which was built by the Winstanley-Industry Park Neighborhood Organization in partnership with the University. The park has served as a cherished play area for neighborhood children for over four years now.

Emerson Park

Community Outreach and

Land Use Survey

Members of the Emerson Park Development Corporation and students teamed up one weekend in October to complete a parcel by parcel survey of property and building conditions in Emerson Park. Volunteers also helped EPDC recruit new members by going door to door with membership brochures and a flyer reminding people about the next neighborhood meeting.

Get Out and Vote!!

Emerson Park Development Corporation Launches Voter Registration Drive

Across the country activists, service providers and non-profits have developed innovative voting registration programs that draw on community resources to break down the barriers that keep many people from voting.

One such local group here in East St. Louis has joined the voter registration effort, the Emerson Park Development Corporation has launched a campaign to help East St. Louis residents register to vote. EPDC worked with the city election commission to do voter registration at the Lessie Bates Neighborhood House.

The Emerson Park Development Corporation is non-partisan and does not endorse candidates. Vickie Forby, EPDC's Executive Director, said "we see our role as giving residents as much information as possible".

If you want to register to vote, please visit the Lessie Bates Neighborhood House at 1200 N.13th Street. You will need two forms of I.D. to register.

To find out more, call Vickie Forby at 874-0777

Common Questions About Voting

Am I eligible to register and to vote?

Yes, if you are:

Must I read or write English in order to register or vote?

No. You may register and vote even if you cannot read or write.

How can I register?

Come to Lessie Bates Neighborhood House and fill out the short voter registration card.

Does it cost anything to register?

No. Registration is free.

Am I registered once I fill out the registration form?

No. You can't be sure you are registered until you get a voter notification card from the county.

Do I ever have to re-register?

Yes. If you move, change your name, or want to change your political party, you must register again.

Will I remain a registered voter even if I fail to vote?

Yes.

Can I register for someone else?

No. You can only register for yourself. However, you may help others fill out a form, but they must sign the form.

Do I have to choose a political party in order to register and to vote?

No. You may check the "decline to state" or independent box on the form if you do not wish to belong to a political party.

Am I required to work for the party or contribute money to it?

No.

Where will I vote?

Your polling place will be in your neighborhood. If you receive a sample ballot, the exact address will be shown on the back. Otherwise, the address will be on your registration card. Both should show whether the polling location is accessible to the handicapped. Polling places may change from one election to another. It is important to go to the correct polling place because your name will not be on the roster of voters anywhere else.

Can I vote by mail?

Contact your Elections Office for information on obtaining an absentee ballot and about deadlines.

Do I need identification when I go to vote?

No. You will just be asked to state your name and address and to sign the roster of voters. Bring along your voter registration card.

What will I be voting on?

We vote on two types of things:

You do not have to vote on everything. You can just vote on the things you care about.

How do I vote?

You will sign your name on a list of all the voters in your area. You will be given a ballot and you will enter a voting booth. You will put the ballot in the voting machine and mark your choices.

1997 Olivette Park Neighborhood Association Halloween Party

Over 200 Children Celebrate Halloween TogetherSafely

The Olivette Park Neighborhood Association(OPNA) works towards creating a safer, cleaner and stronger physical and social environment for all of its residents. Although OPNA is a relatively young neighborhood organization, they are already witnessing positive change from their efforts.

This past summer OPNA kicked off its first youth development project by hiring 20 teenagers from the neighborhood to do landscaping and lot clean-up work. OPNA anticipates that this project will be an annual source of employment for the youth of Olivette Park.

Another annual project is the Halloween Party for neighborhood children. For the past two years over 100 children have attend the party on Halloween night. This year over 200 children and their parents gathered at the Salvation Army the night before Halloween. This party provides the children with a supervised, safe and secure environment in which to celebrate and have fun with their friends, meet new friends and for parents to meet each other.

Through the generous support of businesses and individuals, OPNA is able to provide the children with dinner, dessert, games, and trick or treat bags full of candy. OPNA is grateful for the donations and volunteer work done by its members to ensure that the Party is a tremendous success each year!!

Special thanks to the Salvation Army for generously offering their facilities and time and energy for this event every year!

OPNA invites everyone to join them at their monthly neighborhood meetings held on the first Thursday of every month at the Salvation Army, 616 N. 16th Street, at 7 p.m.

For more information, please contact Mamie Bolden.

Executive Service Corps

Professional Volunteers Available to Help Non-Profits

The Executive Service Corps (ESC) is an association of retired business men and women. They volunteer their time to consult with nonprofit and public service agencies. They believe that the experience and skills acquired during their business careers can help these agencies solve management, governance and administrative problems.

ESC consultants provide advisory services in a variety of areas such as accounting, budgeting and finance, planning, marketing, public relations, personnel administration, board development and governance, organizational systems, and facilities management.

There is a network of over 40 ESC organizations across the country. Each chapter is incorporated independently as a 501(c)(3)) nonprofit organization and is responsible for its own governance, fund development and program activities. Local ESC chapters pay no dues or assessments to the ESC network.

Locally, the Executive Service Corps of St. Louis has partnered with the United Way's Management Assistance Center. More than 200 projects have been undertaken since 1984 when the organization was formed in St. Louis by R. Hal Dean, former chairman of Ralston Purina Company. In an effort to provide more efficient and effective volunteer consulting services to the non-profit community the two agencies have consolidated. The merger of ESC and the United Way's Management Assistance Center was completed in September of 1993.

To request assistance from the ESC, a nonprofit organization must submit a letter requesting assistance and a copy of the most recent IRS 501(c)(3) determination letter for nonprofit tax exempt status. Once these materials are submitted, a staff member will be assigned to your request. That staff member will contact you and ask you to complete a client information form.

Once that information is gathered, the staff person will present your request to the Consultation Subcommittee for acceptance and assignment. After acceptance of the request, ESC staff will notify you through a Letter of Intent. This letter identifies the client, the problem or improvement opportunity, the limits of services, the assigned Consultant and Staff, and the next steps to be taken in order to provide a detailed work plan for the proposed assignment.

For more information please contact the local ESC office at:

Jeanne Harris, Vice President
c/o United Way of Greater St. Louis
1111 Olive Street
St. Louis, MO 63101
Phone: 314-421-0700

Accountants for the Public Interest

Volunteer Accountants Available to Help Non-Profits

Accountants for the Public Interest (API) is a national nonprofit organization whose purpose is to encourage accountants to volunteer their time and expertise to nonprofits, small businesses, and individuals who need, but cannot afford, professional accounting services. This work is carried out by a growing network of 22 affiliate organizations and more than 7,000 volunteers across the country.

API provides technical support to the Affiliates and produces publications, such as Nonprofit Accounting Guide and a National Directory of Volunteer Accounting Programs.

The affiliates recruit volunteer accountants, screen requests for help and match the two. While all of the Affiliates work with nonprofits, each is autonomous and offers a unique mix of programs to their communities, such as small business assistance and help for individuals and families with low incomes.

How can a volunteer accountant help you?

Direct Service

Advisory Service

loan applications

Community Affairs Service

For more information, please contact the National Organization:

Accountants for the Public Interest
1012 14th Street, NW Suite 906
Washington, DC 20005
202-347-1668

Homeless Shelters Need Your Help

The city of East St. Louis has several homeless shelters that house over 100 men, women and families per night and serve thousands of hot meals to the city's needy. Many of the shelters provide the much needed services of distributing food, counseling, job training, medical and psychological services, clothing, and a warm and safe place to sleep. However, many of these shelters are facing tough financial times as federal, state and local funding sources are cutting back on the amount and number of grants that are given for homeless shelter providers. In addition, many shelters have had to reduce the size of their staff due to the lack of funds. To make up for the shortfall, many of the local shelters are asking for the support and assistance of East St. Louis neighborhood organizations and residents. If you are interested in volunteering your time, expertise or simply making a donation, please do not hesitate to contact the NTAC (271-9605). Any help or time you have available to volunteer is greatly needed and appreciated!!

Wealth of Information Available Locally about Grants for Non Profits

The MAP Library is a public library which houses information on foundation grants and nonprofit management. The MAP Library is a cooperating collection of The Foundation Center-one of four collections in Missouri, and the only collection in St. Louis. Cooperating collections are free funding resource libraries that provide a core collection of Foundation Center publications and a variety of supplementary materials and services in areas useful to grantseekers.

If you are looking to locate potential funding sources by a specific category (such as arts, culture or health), then the Foundation Center Subject Grant Guides will help you locate foundations which provide funds for programs and projects that match those categories. MAP also has a publication called the National Directory of Corporate Giving for those organizations interested in soliciting corporate grants.

MAP also has such valuable resources as annual reports, grant application guidelines and other information on funders, books and resource information on nonprofit management and fundraising, Missouri and Illinois PF-990 Foundation tax returns on microfiche and various magazines helpful to nonprofits.

Library Orientations are generally held the first and third Thursdays of each month from 9:00 a.m to 11:00 a.m. Cost for the orientation session, which includes an orientation packet, is $20.

Library Hours and Location:

Monday - Friday 9:00 a.m.
to 5:00 p.m.
One Metropolitan Square, Suite1295
211 North Broadway

For more information, please call: 314-621-6220

Metropolitan Association for Philanthropy (MAP)Affordable Housing Funding Resource

The Home Depot Corporate Contributions Program
2455 Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta, GA 30339
Phone: 404-433-8211

Contact: Suzanne H. Apple, Director of Community Affairs

The Home Depot corporation primarily gives support to non profits for rehabilitation and development of affordable housing and programs that serve at risk youth and environmental concerns.

Donations are in the form of product and monetary support, material grants or establishment of a store charge account. In addition, the corporation offers employee volunteer services, operating support, matching funds and seed money.

Giving is limited to areas of company operations throughout North America. No support for religious, fraternal, political, labor, athletic, social or veterans groups. No grants to individuals.

An application form is not required. The preferred initial approach is a letter of inquiry outlining program and request. There is no deadline, but the board meets every 4-6 weeks after receipt of the proposal, final notification is by letter within 4-6 weeks after the board meeting.

The University of Illinois East St. Louis Neighborhood Technical Assistance Center (NTAC) provides organizational, planning and design assistance to the increasing number of residents and neighborhood organizations active in physical, economic or social development projects that enhance the quality of life in East St. Louis. For more information or to submit news: phone 618-271-9605, FAX 618-271-9651, e-mail: panolan@primary.net.

For other issues see Archives

Document author(s) : Patricia Nolan
Last modified: 24 November 97, Abhijeet Chavan
EAST ST LOUIS ACTION RESEARCH PROJECT