|Wednesday, 23 June 2010|
Neighborhood association a platform for Jacksonville residents who care
By Susan D. Brandenburg
Working together at the East Jacksonville Neighborhood Resource Center, they are a powerful partnership for positive change.
A longtime neighborhood activist, Love has volunteered with the resource center, a FreshMinistries initiative, since it opened its doors in 2007. Once the center began being utilized by local residents, it was recognized as a secure central meeting place and, soon, the Eastside Neighborhood Association was formed.
Love took a leadership role from the beginning, serving as co-chairwoman with Shareef Haleem, and devoting countless hours to rallying residents for monthly meetings, anti-crime walks with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, neighborhood trash cleanups and the planting of a community garden. When not involved in outreach efforts, Love also provides support to the resource center's Summer Youth Employment Program and she is the chairwoman of the Weed & Seed Steering Committee.
"Despite battling serious health issues this past year, Janice Love never gives up," said Beverly Toney, Community Director for FreshMinistries.
Headquartered at the Eastside Neighborhood Resource Center, Toney says that she sees Love working on behalf of the neighborhood nearly every day.
"Janice sets the standard for dedicated volunteerism," said Toney. "She is an inspiration to the young people of this area, especially those like Jawaun, who are on their way to becoming community leaders in their own right."
A new graduate of Jackson High School, Jawaun Hazelton is helping to organize the meetings for the Summer Youth Employment Program at the Center after school and on Saturdays, but as for himself, he has already lined up a part-time job for the summer of 2010.
"I've been working here after school for nearly three years, volunteering most of that time," he said. "Being here has given me lots of free job training, and now I'm part of the staff. I have confidence I never had before and I know I'm helping the people in my neighborhood."
"Jawaun is an intelligent young man who takes pride in his job and is here every day," Love said. "I love to see youth taking leadership roles in improving this neighborhood. We're training leaders here every day."