Free leadership training to encourage community action - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Free leadership training to encourage neighbors to community action

By Danielle Thomas – bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A community advocacy group says it is working to empower residents so they can make a positive difference where they live. The Steps Coalition is partnering with a national organization called NeighborWorks to provide free leadership training next month. The seminars will focus on communication skills, problem solving, how to develop an action plan, and other topics.

From pots holes to insufficient street lighting, Paul Overstreet sees plenty of problems in his Orange Grove neighborhood, but not enough people working together to solve them.

"I'm always believing in good leadership," Overstreet said. "I believe in good networking. If we can get everybody together with a good leader and a good network. That would be an A-plus."

Steps Coalition Director Roberta Avila hopes people interested in changing their communities for the better will seek guidance from the NeighborWorks workshops.

"In order for there to be long term sustainable change, it has to be people in the community doing it," said Avila. "It has to have people who are invested in their community and what happens in their community."

"So if it's someone in the community providing the focus for residents to develop an action plan, then I just feel like it's more likely to happen."

The Steps Coalition said the reason the NeighborWorks Coalition is so important is that many communities want to make changes, but don't know how to go about it.

Avila said, "People want to see some change in their community but don't really feel like they have a voice, don't feel like they can create change. And that's what this is all about."

The leadership training is at the Church of the Redeemer in Biloxi March 2-3. If you are interested in attending, call the Steps Coalition at (228) 435-3113 to register.

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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