Created to ensure that we are truly addressing the needs of the neighborhood, Community Pride is one of HCZ’s oldest programs. Staff regularly go door-to-door throughout our 97-block Zone, making sure that all families know about—and know they have access to—our full range of services and encouraging participation, especially from the most disenfranchised. They also attend community meetings to gather information about local issues and concerns, so that we can refine our priorities and further shape our programming to better meet the needs of our children and families.
Community Pride works closely with tenant groups, block associations, faith-based institutions, and local businesses to create a strong, cohesive community where residents feel empowered and united in their mutual investment in helping Harlem thrive. Program staff also provide assistance with personal issues, such as housing, safety, and legal concerns, and train residents to be more effective leaders so they can successfully advocate for themselves and their families. Employment workshops and job fairs help residents strengthen their skills, make valuable contacts, and find opportunities, while cultural activities and holiday celebrations help build community and vital relationships. Our youth also play a pivotal role, working with staff and residents to undertake revitalization and beautification projects aimed at improving the quality of life across the Zone.
Among the program’s most important responsibilities is its regular work with HCZ’s two Community Advisory Boards. The first consists of residents and stakeholders across our 97 blocks who are committed to helping HCZ ensure that we are addressing local needs throughout the Zone. The second was developed to build strong partnerships with families and residents in and around the St. Nicholas housing development, where we opened our new state-of-the-art school building and community center in 2013. The facility is a bold demonstration of our holistic approach. In fostering communication between residents and HCZ, Community Pride is ultimately helping us deepen our roots, expand our impact, and support the whole community.