As part of the Youth LEAP program I got to attend a local community event. I went to a community lunch/meeting focusing on the Northside of Poughkeepsie. Growing up in Wappingers, I was familiar with this part of Poughkeepsie being a lower-income residential area. However, this meeting was the first time I got to see community leaders discussing the Northside neighborhood from their own perspectives, and sharing recommendations for how the neighborhood can be improved.
Everyone at the meeting was sharing their views on the neighborhood, and it was great to see people sharing and listening to one another. People come from all kinds of backgrounds and careers, so there were many different opinions about what should be key priorities when it comes to improving the Northside. But, when it was all said and done there were many priorities that everyone shared, and that definitely would benefit the community. Moving forward, it would be really great to see community leaders to continue to meet, spread the word about their meeting to improve the neighborhood, and also begin to take action in the areas that they can.
One thing that I'm really glad I got to see at the meeting was people from different backgrounds listen to one another and find shared interests. It’s really easy to believe that people who don’t know you, or where you come from, won’t be able to relate to you. Seeing people in Poughkeepsie get together and talk about serious community issues reminds me that even people with very different daily lives than me can have a really similar outlook on life. I think that’s because we’re all still a part of the same community, even if we’re not always aware of it.