Giving Tuesday: Promise of bright future begins with a promise at school

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – The people who live around Taft Elementary School in Youngstown are ready to see positive change in their neighborhood. That’s where the Taft Promise Neighborhood Program comes in.

The program has been in place for two years and has one goal: To make life better for people living around Taft Elementary.

The building is used to host events and information fairs for the surrounding community. People also network to get important neighborhood projects going.

It has worked well and has resulted in several improvements.

The program works by connecting different city agencies, civic organizations and service projects to address neighborhood issues. In two years, the program has held job fairs and health fairs. They’ve lobbied for new playgrounds and a new sidewalk for kids walking to school, and they’ve enlisted their neighbors and friends to help.

“They want hope. They want a bright future. They want to be able to transition to something new and be able to get a career and take care of their families,” said Dionne Dowdy, a Taft Promise Neighborhood volunteer.

The ultimate goal is to expand the neighborhood promise across the entire city.

“It’s the plan to move this initiative to every side of town. To have a hub in a school on each side of town and pull together. We’ve already laid the groundwork,” said April Alexander, executive director of Taft Promise Neighborhood. “Although we work with about 40 different organizations, we really are trying to grab hold of residents and equip them to make change.”

The program needs volunteers and people from the community to take part. To learn more, visit the United Way’s website