|Building Relationships and Strengthening Partnerships in Inkster, Michigan|
Inkster, Michigan—Strong relationships and formalized partnerships help Neighborhood Networks centers confront community problems and connect residents to technology and information that help them improve their lives and move toward self-sufficiency. The Dartmouth Square Neighborhood Networks Center in Inkster, Michigan, fostered relationships with the local Operation Weed and Seed—a program of the U.S. Department of Justice—and with Comcast to create an atmosphere and provide services that are conducive to individual growth and learning.
“We have worked with Weed and Seed for a long time but with the help of the Neighborhood Networks staff we were able to formalize our partnership,” states Sonya Manners, service coordinator of the Dartmouth Square center. Weed and Seed provided the original environment and some of the computers, printers, and furniture for the center, and Manners added the resources of Neighborhood Networks to complement what already existed. “Why spin a wheel that has already been spun is what I’m fond of saying,” states Manners.
Operation Weed and Seed is a strategy that aims to prevent, control, and reduce violent crime, drug abuse, and gang activity in targeted high-crime neighborhoods. The strategy involves a two-pronged approach that includes law enforcement agencies and prosecutors weeding out criminals who participate in violent crime and drug abuse, and the seeding of the neighborhood with human services that encompass prevention, intervention, and neighborhood revitalization.
One of the major activities that the local Operation Weed and Seed provides for the local children is Drug Education for Youth (DEFY), developed by the Department of the Navy’s Drug Demand Reduction Task Force. “The DEFY program is extremely valuable in helping us with activities for our children and to build a stronger community,” adds Manners. The program is a comprehensive and multiphase prevention program for children ages 9 to 12. The DEFY program helps deter at-risk behavior by providing children the tools they need to resist drugs, gangs, and alcohol and includes skill-based activities that help them positively shape their futures.
“Our partnership with Comcast has exceeded our expectations,” states Manners. Dartmouth Square originally sought some initial support for wiring and reduced fees for Internet access, but the company provides the service at no cost.
Manners attributes her success in building partnerships to her persistence and ability to create friendships over time. “I attend community and city meetings that offer the opportunity to meet with the people who can help fill our needs,” states Manners. “More importantly,” she adds, “we try to find ways that help meet the goals of all of our organizations.” Creating situations in which all parties’ benefit appears to be one of the hallmarks of successful partnerships. With the help of the Neighborhood Networks staff, Manners has formalized her partnerships with memorandums of understanding that will ensure that the center’s relationships continue into the future.
For more information about Neighborhood Networks centers in Michigan, contact:
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development–Detroit Office
477 Michigan Avenue, Room 1600
Detroit, MI 48226-2592
Phone: (313) 226–4900, ext. 8129
For more information about the Dartmouth Square Apartments Neighborhood Networks Center, contact:
Inkster, MI 48141
Phone: (313) 278–5544
For additional information about the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Operation Weed and Seed visit http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/eows.
|Center(s) Highlighted or Profiled:||Dartmouth Square Apartments|
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Department of Housing and Urban
451 7th Street S.W.,
Washington, DC 20410
708-1112 TTY: (202)