Hello my name is Amber and I’m a Class of 2016 Poughkeepsie High School graduate, currently interning with North River Roasters through the Middle Main program of Hudson River Housing. I’ve been learning how to roast, package, deliver, and even taste coffee (which is more complex and complicated then you would think) and participating in farmers markets (along with a great girl named Tori, Middle Main’s new Community Outreach Fellow from Vassar College) for a few weeks now and I must say I’m enjoying the experience.

Last week on Thursday the 21st of July, I attended my first Community Meet-Up. There was a warm welcome at the door and delicious food on the table to eat before the meeting commenced. There were a good variety of people there ranging from young to old, and from business owner to police officers to common citizens. To begin, Anne De Marco of Valley Vista did a short presentation about the differences between senior citizen homes and programs, then went on to talk about nursing homes and at home nursing services. She distinguished what types of senior citizens would participate in each and how they would be cared for. It was very interesting to learn about the differences and take them into consideration for people in my life that may need these services.

After the presentation, Elizabeth and Nora lead a “workshop” in which they introduced the Middle Main goal and essential question we would be working on answering during the meeting to see ways we could reach our goal. The goal being: “We want the Main St community to grow as a strong, vibrant, sustainable, inclusive, participatory” neighborhood. The essential question being: “What actions do we want to see take place over the coming year that will help us come close to this goal?”  Later, words such as, resilient, diverse, engaging, affordable, and equitable were added to the goal due to interaction and feedback of the community.

The room broke up into two groups and we got a chance to meet and talk to people while sharing ideas about how we thought the community could be bettered. We listened to each other and had a chance to build off of each other’s idea. Finally, we got back into one group and shared out. Ideas included, employment opportunities for the youth, affordable or possibly free activities to engage the youth, positive face to face interaction with law enforcement, beautification of the neighborhood and maintaining that aspect, and so many more concepts. We were able to successfully establish priorities and categorize the ideas so we can focus on condensing it even more next time.

Overall, the meeting was great and I hope to attend another one just like it or better with even more people from the community to hear their ideas too.







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