If you have participated in Healthy Blocks, our NeighborWorks® Rochester targeted neighborhood initiative, you are sure to have met Michelle Bilock. As the Program Assistant for Healthy Blocks, Michelle works primarily with residents in targeted neighborhoods to improve their communities through physical and social investments. She enjoys “being out in the neighborhood, getting to know residents and seeing change and growth in their homes and hearts.”
Before beginning her position here in 2012 as the Healthy Blocks Program Assistant, Michelle lived in San Francisco, working and volunteering throughout the city. Even though she is in a new city with a slight temperature adjustment, you can still find Michelle thoroughly involved in Rochester, both through volunteering and working.
Although being extensively involved in the city through Healthy Blocks and other endeavors, Miss. Bilock enjoys a variety of activities in her spare time. She is active outdoors, very involved with her church, and loves to read a good book or watch good cinema. If you see her friendly face out and about in Rochester, be sure to say hello!
By Michelle Bilock
For the past several months, residents in Brooks Landing and the Pocket have been developing community branding to be used in a neighborhood signage project. Committees formed and they asked residents to submit “design concepts” that would reflect the values and characteristics of their communities. Submissions of all sorts arrived- from slogans and phrases, to historical highlights, to hand or computer generated images.
Kristin Ward of the Pocket, a graphic designer by trade, emerged as a leader of the committee in her neighborhood.
“My kids and I rented a house on Kansas Street and had to move away. We felt so homesick for our neighbors and for our friends at the dog park. We loved being a part of this community. Soon after we moved away, our current house came on the market. We came to see it and put in an offer that very same day. After we moved in, we felt like this house was meant for us. There was truly ‘no place like home.’
I have enjoyed being a part of our neighborhood group, assisted by NeighborWorks® Rochester When this logo and sign project came up, I thought that offering my graphic design skills would be a wonderful way to contribute. It has been a pleasure!” -Kristin Ward
Brooks Landing decided to work with Mike Governale who is the Interactive Art Director and Operator of RochesterSubway.com. His work as a graphic designer and his love of the city made him an obvious choice.
“This neighborhood has so many different angles to it; the different cultures, the activity, the great location… and such an exciting future ahead I think. I hope I can capture at least some of that unique flavor and energy. I want to give the neighbors something they can identify with and be proud of. I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of this project!” -Mike Governale
The logo designs will be used as a representation of the neighborhoods moving forward. Initially, the logos will be featured on brand new neighborhood signage, including some banners and gateway signs. The funding for this project is provided by a generous grant through Citizen’s Bank.
An unveiling ceremony will take place to celebrate the completion of the project. For more information about the project and Healthy Blocks, please contact Anwar Pickett, the HB Program Manager – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kristin Ward: Wayland Publishing, waylandpublishing.com
By Alyssa Deal
I heard the term “Urban by Choice” from a NeighborWorks® Rochester staff member a few weeks ago. This staff member was referencing a conversation with a friend over the recent passing of a beloved board member, Edline Chun. “Edline was urban by choice, she could have lived anywhere, but she chose to live in the city” she did this to be a part of something bigger, on the individual level, neighborhood level, and city level.
Edline was a strong, influential community member, Neighborworks Rochester board member, RIT professor, artist, friend to many… and the list goes on. Many individuals are looking at Edline’s life as something to emulate, turning the end of an amazing life into a reminder of the importance of living with intent.
Take the time to think about why you are in this community. What kind of footprint do you want to leave? Whether in Rochester or another area, investing your time can have a positive effect. Live with intent.
3 Practical tips for living with purpose in your community:
1. Understand who you are. Know who you are and figure out how your skills can be used to help others in your area.
2. Get to know your neighbors & neighborhood. Taking the time to get to know those around you helps build a stronger sense of community. You may be surprised at the hidden stories/treasures in your neighborhood.
3. Get plugged in. Start to get involved in your area. If you are uncertain about how to best contribute to the community, non-profits are one of many avenues. Develop a strategic ways to get involved.