On June 10th, Hudson River Housing's Middle Main Initiative hosted its second community dinner and idea exchange, this time in Spanish. The event was part of La Plaza del Aprendizaje, a program of the Poughkeepsie Public Library and Literacy Connections.
Around twenty people were gathered and they learned about Hudson River Housing, the Middle Main Initiative and how we can work together to build stronger neighborhoods.
Following the same format as the first community dinner, guests were given a placemat where they were asked to propose an idea that could be completed in the next three months to strengthen the neighborhood. In pairs they discussed their ideas with a plate of delicious "flautas" from Spicy Mexican Grill. They also learned about ideas that Middle Main has helped realize in the past, such as a walking club, a day of the dead celebration, a salsa dancing night, and a Spanish- English language exchange.
The placemats were grouped in the center of the table. A couple of volunteers read each idea that had been proposed. The ideas mentioned included:
1) Coordinating a clean-up day
2) Creating crafts
3)Going for a walk ot to run on the weekend
4) Creating a place to meet and speak English and Spanish over coffee
5) Creating a farm market with organic products
6) Creating a commercial sector
7) Hosting cooking classes
8) Hosting mechanic classes
9) Visiting elderly people
10) Classes on the environment
11) More dance classes
12) Embroidery classes **
As a group we went over the feasibility of all these ideas. We tried to see who in the room possessed the talents which were sought, and who in the room was interested in learning those talents. We noticed an interest for class space. One member noted that she is interested in embroidery classes. Two other students noted that they taught embroidery. We added this to our list of ideas.
The most important aspect of the night was the voting. Each participant was given two stickers and asked to vote for the idea they found most compelling.
The top three ideas included:
1) Creating classes (on embroidery; salsa lessons; cooking; the environment) - 12 votes
2) Neighborhood clean-up - 7 votes
3) Creating a jogging, running, walking group - 5 votes
This Thursday, June 20th we will be meeting at 5:30PM at 513 Main Street, Poughkeepsie to work on achieving the idea that received the most votes: creating class space. Members were also invited for the walking club that will start today at 6:30, and meets every Tuesday and Thursday until July 11th!