From civic participation to recycling, neighborhood leaders will become learners at Saturday’s “Neighborhood University” workshop.
“Neighborhood University is where we provide informational or educational sessions to our neighborhoods,” said Neighborhood Education Office spokeswoman Madelyn Gibbs.
The workshop occurs each February and August at the Hazel Harvey Peace Center, focusing on current issues as voted on by residents across the city, according to a City News article.
The event is more than just a way to learn how to improve each neighborhood, but also a way to show camaraderie between people from all areas of Ft. Worth.
Gibbs, a former president of the League of Neighborhoods in Fort Worth, is in her 30th year working with neighborhoods. She considers this event to be of her favorites.
“It’s a remarkable thing to see all of us, each from different backgrounds, reaching out to each other at the workshop every year,” Gibbs said. “My favorite thing about it? Everyone shares their stories.”
This year, civic participation is a main focus of the session.
Gibbs said the city wants to know how different residents want to interact with them, whether via open meetings or social media.
The workshop also features leaders from two award-winning neighborhoods who will share their secrets on how to become the best around. The “Winning Neighborhoods, Winning Ideas” theme hopes to strengthen the relationship between neighborhoods, Gibbs said.
To further the civic participation emphasis, Dr. Aldin Cotto, a professional in the demographics field, will speak to the idea of “everyone coming to the table,” Gibbs said.
The other main focus, recycling, will be a refresher course as well as a way to inform leaders of any new recyclable materials. “Most people don’t know that pizza boxes are actually recyclable now,” Gibbs said.
Two representatives from the Ft. Worth Solid Waste Division will speak about what to recycle and how to recycle more efficiently.
Gibbs said their office sends out a survey after each workshop gauging what participants liked and disliked, as well as what they wanted to see implemented during upcoming events. She also sent out an e-mail promoting the event to hundreds of neighborhoods.
“This is our 10th year anniversary,” Gibbs said, “and our main goal is to always keep it relevant, fun and funny.”
Gibbs said the event provides helpful information via guest speakers, tables set up around the perimeter of the building, and presentations by city officials.
Bluebonnet Place Neighborhood Association member Mike Banta is out of town and cannot make the workshop. Westcliff West Neighborhood Association President Clif Overcash said he couldn’t fit it into his schedule.
“Everybody has to choose for themselves what they do and don’t have time for, and unfortunately I don’t have time to do this,” Overcash said.
However, he believes several residents from his neighborhood will attend.
The event lasts from 8 a.m.-noon Saturday. Gibbs expects about 100 people to attend, but she said there are always plenty of seats for those wanting to attend at the last minute.