The Regional Neighborhood Network Conference Host Committee is excited to provide exciting and interactive workshops at this years event in Fort Wayne. Look below to find out more.

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9:45 - 10:45

HARRISON A: StoryBrand: How to Develop Your Neighborhood Narrative

Many communities have trouble getting shoppers into their stores, people into their empty homes, and residents into civic discussions. They struggle to catch their city's attention, and draw funding into their neighborhoods. Workshop attendees will learn now to "brand' their neighborhood, and tell a story of why it's a great place to live, work and shop. Presenters: Justin Sheehan, Crown Jewel Marketing & Nathan Miller, Purdue University.

HARRISON B: Unwind Your Mind: Programming for Those with Early Dementia  

A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia is life changing, but that doesn’t mean giving up activities that he or she loves. Many activities can be modified to the person's ability and it’s important that opportunities to participate in community activities that are meaningful, creative, and social are made available to them. Learn about Fort Wayne’s programming and how you can begin a similar program in your community. Presenters: Patti Davis, FW Parks & Recreation Community Center & Lori Stock, FW Alzheimer Association.

HARRISON C: Small Budget l Big Impact

Creative Placemaking projects are typically described as large scale public-private partnerships, and can often be confusing, intimidating, and seem like too much work for not enough value. Dan Swartz, founder of Wunderkammer Company, a 501(c) contemporary Fort Wayne art center, Rebecca Karcher from Trinity English Lutheran Church and Dan Baisden, a certified Main Street Manager and City Planner will share what creative placemaking is, and can be, and how to accomplish small projects with little to no capital.

HARRISON D: Food Access 101

In this highly interactive session, you will learn the basics of food access, why it’s important to the growth and success of your neighborhood and community, and what others are doing to address similar issues. Come prepared to share your own challenges and successes. Presenters: Stephanie Henry, CultivationLab  & Jered Blanchard, Purdue Extension Allen County.

HARRISON E: TenPoint Coalition

Modeled after the successful Indianapolis TenPoint Coalition, Fort Wayne UNITED’s initiative has been designed to positively influence the lives of black males, families and neighborhoods by implementing proactive strategies to address youth gun violence, as well as improving conditions and the quality of life for residents in the areas of education, health and housing. Presenters: TenPoint Coalition Coordinator, Lewis A. King and Indianapolis TenPoint Coalition Board President, Reverend Dr. Charles Harrison.

11:15 - 12:15

HARRISON A: Social Media for Neighborhoods: Community, Connection & Communication

Use Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to effectively communicate and increase connection with your neighbors. Topics will include how websites play into social media, content calendars, creating effective posts, timing and boosting posts, branding, use of photos, videos and stories, learning your audience, finding your voice, understanding Facebook live, scheduling posts, creating events, setting up the ideal profile, managing interactions, and raising engagement. Plenty of time for Q & A. Presenters: Social Media Managers John Felts, City of Fort Wayne & Stephen J. Bailey, PH. Digital Marketing.

HARRISON C: Neighbor to Neighbor

Neighbors want to help their neighbors but often don’t know where to begin or who needs help. Volunteers, young leaders, civic groups, businesses, and neighbors want to find their passions, get involved and improve their neighborhoods in tangible ways. They want to help their neighbors directly and come alongside community organizations where they can use their talents and skills to make a difference. Learn how three successful volunteer mobilization organizations are using technology and social media platforms to find, recruit, engage, and mobilize volunteers of all ages to connect neighbors and help solve community needs. Presenters: Ani Etter, Volunteer Center, Andrew Hoffman, Neighborlink & Sarah Verpooten, Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana.

HARRISON D: New American Leadership Academy

Columbus has a growing New American community with 150,000 foreign born individuals that speak more than 100 languages. The Department of Neighborhoods developed the New American Leadership Academy (NALA) in 2018 to educate Columbus’s New American population on how to navigate local government and how to become civically engaged with community organizations. The program equips participants with the skills needed to empower their communities in a culturally appropriate manner. Presenters: Abdi Soofe, NALA & Toya Johnson , City of Columbus.

HARRISON E: Summit City Match

Fort Wayne’s Summit City Match Pilot program was launched in 2019 to address equitable entrepreneurship opportunities for women and minority-owned businesses, and to add energy to revitalization already happening. Mirrored after Detroit's successful Motor City Match, the program works to "match" building and business owners to fill vacant buildings. The coordinated approach includes the City of Fort Wayne, Fort Wayne Black Chamber, Greater Fort Wayne Hispanic Chamber, Latino's Count, Greater Fort Wayne, JPM Chase, Anthis Career Center, and other support agencies. Presenter: Trois Hart, Director, Summit City Entrepreneur and Enterprise District.

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10:00 - 11:00

ANTHONY WAYNE A: Neighborhoods that Work: ABC’s of Community Engagement + Tired-A-Lot

During this presentation, participants will learn about the basics of asset-based community development (ABCD), including examples of work to promote inclusive and engaged community development in an underserved, yet resilient, Fort Wayne neighborhood, highlighting how that work has been influenced and impacted specifically by our community’s youth and adult residents. Examples of innovative and low-cost projects that bring meaningful change to both the appearance of, and culture in, our community will be shared, highlighting a youth-design studio where teens develop design-based problem solving skills and whose final outcome has been the reactivation of vacant green lots into community assets like playgrounds and pocket parks. Presenters: Réna Bradley & Javier Mondragon, Bridge of Grace Compassionate Ministries Center.

JEFFERSON A: Activate Your Place: How to Start a Successful Youth Program & Your Fitness Goals Can Change Your Neighborhood

The Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation Department partnered with community leaders over 20 years ago to begin the Lifetime Sports Academy, a successful, entirely free summer program created to teach the lifetime sports of swimming, golf and tennis to children ages 7 – 18, serving over 30,000 children. Learn the secrets of starting a special athletic program in your neighborhood park and how to keep it thriving, how to find passionate, skilled instructors, and how to make the program fun for kids and their parents. In addition, NeighborLink Fort Wayne and the YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne will share how they're using athletics to build community, connect neighbors, and transform neighborhoods while increasing volunteerism, funding tangible needs, and setting personal records at the local 5k. Presenters: Jason Smith, FW Parks & Recreation, Samantha Plamann, YMCA & Andrew Hoffman, Neighborlink.

JEFFERSON B: Understanding and Managing Diversity

The session will explain types of diversity, why diversity is important, challenges of diversity, and strategies and programs for managing diversity in your neighborhood. Presenter: Diana Jackson-Davis, Parkview Health.

JEFFERSON C: Building Coalition and Communities

A coalition is a diverse group of organizations and individuals who agree to work together to achieve a common goal. As an activist organization, coalitions are key to relationship building, power and alliance. Coalitions also rely on trust and nurturing leadership in others. In this workshop, we will examine communities, identify allies and opponents, and identify the strengths and successes of creating and organizing communities around an issue in order to make community-level change. Presenters: Chantelle Edwards & Cesar Roman, Institute for Quality Education.

11:15 - 12:15

ANTHONY WAYNE A: How Organizations are Developing Homes to Improve Neighborhoods and Empower Residents

Thriving neighborhoods and engaged residents play a large role in creating vibrant and livable cities, but vacant property and homes can be a drag on safety, private investment and community pride. This presentation will showcase the efforts of three local organizations who are using housing development (renovations and infill development) as a tool to not only beautify neighborhoods, but also equip and empower local residents. Speakers will highlight each of their programs: indicating how projects have been funded and how each use housing as a tool to reduce blight and build up community residents. Moderated panel discussion and Q+A will follow. Presenters: Javier Mondragon, Many Nations Church, Denise Andorfer, Vincent Village, Cynthia Snider, Biggs Development and Yusanda Blackmon, Joshua’s Hand.

JEFFERSON A: Public Art/Art This Way

Learn how art installations, public realm enhancements and strategic event production is strengthening the spirit of collaboration and sense of community in Downtown Fort Wayne. Individuals representing the Fort Wayne Downtown Improvement District, Art This Way and a local Muralist and Art Educator will discuss and answer questions about the origins of Art This Way and its Alley Activation Project. Presenters: Alexandra Hall, Art This Way, Frank Howard, Downtown Improvement District, & Tim Parsley, FW Artist.

JEFFERSON B: Building an Uncommon Alliance

Discover how a grassroots, faith-based, non-profit is working with disengaged youth, and the wider community to create opportunities where none existed before. The Victory Project, INC. combines education, entrepreneurship, and enlightenment with incredible volunteers, youth and supporters in the public and private sector to give an alternative to the streets for our children. If your community is looking for an innovative, self-sustaining way to generate excitement, hope & tangible results, then this session is for you. Presenter: Monnie Bush, Victory Project.

JEFFERSON C: Strategies for Making Your Community More Welcoming

This discussion will highlight proven welcoming strategies in Fort Wayne and other Midwest communities, and introduce easy welcoming initiatives that any community can facilitate. An immigrant and a refugee will discuss what their welcoming experiences were like when they arrived in the United States. Presenter: Melissa Rinehart, Welcoming Fort Wayne.