Love your neighbor.

Bernie on a Journey - Part 8 - August 16, 2019

08-17-2019

Promenade Park is open! And if you have no idea what I am talking about, then you have some exploring to do!

In this week’s vlog, you can see a brief tour of the highlights of the new park, located on Superior St. and Harrison St.


So, what’s great about another park anyway? Why should you care? 

Well, parks are an important social institution. Parks preserve the environment and natural landscape. Parks encourage socialization, recreation, education and active lifestyles (https://cityparksalliance.org/about-us/why-city-parks-matter/). 


But most importantly, parks show us our social priorities. 

Our society believes that all people deserve to have access to natural wonders and green spaces, especially in urban settings. As a historic proponent of parks, Theodore Roosevelt once exclaimed, 

"There can be nothing in the world more beautiful than the Yosemite, the groves of the giant sequoias and redwoods, the Canyon of the Colorado, the Canyon of the Yellowstone, the Three Tetons; and our people should see to it that they are preserved for their children and their children's children forever, with their majestic beauty all unmarred.” 

While at first glance this quote just outlines the reason parks ought to protect the environment,  upon closer reflection, Roosevelt is making a call to action: a call for people to have a sense of responsibility for one another and the general welfare, while also creating a better, more beautiful future. 

Promenade Park the Saturday of its opening weekend, it was amazing to see the city so lit up at night!

After all, parks aren’t a short term investment. Parks are a vote of confidence in the community for generations. 

Currently, Fort Wayne has 87 parks, but they only encompass 3% of the total Fort Wayne landmass, according to the Trust for Public Land, which also found that 48% of Fort Wayne residents live within a 10 minute walk of a park(https://www.tpl.org/about/overview). 

Research has shown that by living near a park, or having a built environment that enables activity and interaction, people are shown to be healthier (https://www.bluezones.com/live-longer-better/life-radius/). The built environment, just means the physical elements of our community where we spend our time, such as having safe homes, streets and open spaces, the presence or absence of sidewalks, etc.  This has been shown to impact activity levels since areas without safe walking paths or bike lanes are less likely to encourage active lifestyles. So building a new park, helps encourage more people to have healthy lifestyles. 

Promenade Park the Saturday of its opening weekend, the  view from Parkview Tree Canopy Trail; it's even prettier in sunlight.

Beyond activity levels, just seeing green space has been shown to increase positive feelings toward a neighborhood, which in turn can increase social interaction, according to research from the University of Washington (https://depts.washington.edu/hhwb/Thm_Community.html). In particular, it has been found that if people live near trees, they are more likely to spend time outdoors, which leads to more neighbors meeting each other and higher trust between neighbors(https://depts.washington.edu/hhwb/Thm_Community.html).

 

Promenade Park the Saturday of its opening weekend, with crowds of people enjoying the space. 

So get out there! Come see Promenade Park, and make it a mission to check out your nearest park and maybe meet a few neighbors! 


Volunteer Mobilization Coordinator - Position Freeze

08-15-2019

If you were looking for the Volunteer Mobilization Coordinator position information on our website, then you are in the right spot. However, we have decided to pull the job posting in an effort to take a step back, evaluate our current positions, and make sure we're building the most effective team not only for now, but for the future. You would be right to question why we didn't do this work before we opened the position, but I want to assure you that we did and we do currently need additional help in volunteer mobilization. Our growth has been rapid across the board and we have added six staff positions in 2018 and an additional three in 2019 (some are in the process of being filled via AmeriCorp VISTA programming). 

When you experience that kind of growth and, have some turnover in the process, and/or grow using short-term, research and development oriented positions such as our Apprenticeships and AmeriCorp position, rethinking your strategy based on lessons learned and opportunities is a privilege and a responsibility that we must take in order to remain nimble and grow with the right full-time, permanent positions. 

Without getting into all the details of the process, we're going to be doing a deep dive into our existing team through some assessments and some planning with outside help. We'll come out clearer, more connected as a team, and more aware of what gaps can be filled by existing members and what opportunities we have for the right candidates. Maybe volunteer mobilization, but maybe something completely different. 

I apologize for any frustration and confusion that this has created for you if you were hoping to be considered for this position, but I appreciate your support and trust our willingness to step back, do the right work, and come out stronger on the other side. We're motivated to get through this process as quickly as we can because we can't wait to add some new staff members to join our growth. 


Andrew Hoffman

Executive Director

Recent Website Improvements

08-12-2019

We've been hard at work making improvements to the website over the summer. Some things you'll see, many you won't, and a whole lot of things that help our staff better connect you to projects. We know some of you are interested in what we're doing when it comes to leveraging technology, so we wanted to share what improvements and changes have been made. For those that aren't into the technical details, just know we're constantly investing in making your experience the best we can. 

ENHANCEMENTS

Added new project status type to better describe why a project was cancelled:

  •    Cancelled - not needed
  •    Cancelled - not responsive
  •    Postponed / Cancelled - Funds Not Available

Added new project categories:

  •    Flooring
  •    Leaf Raking
  •    Wheelchair Ramp
  •    Wheelchair Ramp Improvements

Added typeahead and autofill functionality for admins to the Request Help page. The "firstname" and "lastname" fields will try to match a previously entered person and auto fill their information if selected.

Adjusted the project map to display your location in relation to the currently available projects.

Adjusted banner height to fit more content on page

Improved site security

Allow registered users to invite their friends to join NeighborLink via the dashboard.

Added the Super Admin role.  All current Admin role users have been upgraded to Super Admin role. The differentiator comes from our work here at NLFW where on occasion we have Super Volunteers that we trust that could use more access to our data reporting tools or project management features. This improvement gives them some additional functionality that Admins had before. All previous Admins are now Super Admin and retain all the “operations” oriented functionality that we had before. 

Updated permissions required for management functionality. 

Revamped the projects map to include a list of the closest projects to you. The map no longer zooms out to include your current location.

Implemented recurring project notices. Every two weeks that a project has not been updated (until 75 days after last update), a phone call is made to the project submitter, asking them if their project is still a need. If the submitter does not have a valid phone number in their profile, an email attempt is made instead. This feature will be the reason for so many potential phone calls this evening.

Allow basic users and volunteers to submit photos for a project while creating the project. Administrators for the affiliate will be notified when photos by these users are uploaded and can approve or delete them on the project page. The primary image for a project will default to its first approved photo.


BUG FIXES

Fixed the News and Projects sliders links on the home page.

Fixed the video page showing a site error if a Vimeo account isn’t setup.

The login page will now display an error message if an incorrect username or password is entered.

The login page will now return to the last viewed page upon successful login.

Nonexistent pages will now direct to a 404 page.

Fixed the dashboard notification “View this project” links.Completion of the signup page now redirects to a "Sign Up Was Successful!" page instead of a 404 page.

Video descriptions no longer have <br/> in them.

The service events section on the dashboard is no longer duplicated.

Reduced the maximum photo size to 20 megabytes.