Let me begin by thanking the many Board members and volunteers who have made the last six months one of the most open and engaging times in my history of being involved on the Board since 2009. I am retiring as Chair but plan to continue to be involved to hand over the reins and to challenge you to volunteer with Eliot.
Its been a great year on the Eliot Board with our meetings now taking place at St. Philip the Deacon on Rodney and Knott. This all began with the open meetings you may recall we called the “Community Conversations” last October. If you are one of the over 100 residents that came to one of the three meetings, you might consider volunteering to host another Conversation in 2016. Could this become our tradition of seeing each other and listening to each other? Research says that happiness comes from social relations and that was the most important item that Eliot Conversation surveys revealed. The community wants to have chances to listen to each other.
Many Board members and volunteers began their work after learning at the Conversations about Eliot as a neighborhood and as a force for positive change. Active leaders such as Jere Fitterman and Maggie Gardner were two non-Board members who have been incredibly engaged in the Conversations. Their work, as graphic designer and as community contacts coordinators, while not Board members, was key to our getting the word out about the Conversations in October 2014. Thank you Jere and Maggie also for your continued work on the Tree team and the Newspaper. You inspire the volunteerism that makes Eliot a great place to live.
Board members like Pat Montgomery, who helped connect the Board to St. Philip the Deacon, played a vital role in the door knocking team to bringing in over 100 new Eliot community participants in the Conversations. She was part of team that pounded the pavement to personally invite Eliot neighbors. Pat continues to be a voice of connection to the African American community and an essential Board leader making sure we consider the history and present in equal parts.
Board members like Jeri Bee and her family have taken on the vital role of Communications coordination and her Jeri has set up continued public table events to connect to Eliot neighbors at Good in the Hood, the Dawson Park concerts, and National Night Out.
Jim Havla and I have been part of the leadership to facilitate the Community Conversations and begin an equity and inclusion initiative to help the Board include the community. Our other Board members like Clint who is our webmaster, Becca Pollard who led Facebook/social media work and our Retreat, Kristin Yates, our Secretary, Annie Rudwick, our treasurer, Joan Ivan our NECN representative, and Joe Entler round out our committed volunteer Board members.
Our news team leader, Sue Stringer, also has become a vital volunteer and Board member both as a news editor keeping the Eliot News going with a great team she formed, including Becca Pollard, Jere Fitterman, Maggie Gardner, and others who have made the difference in our social media, and newsletter writing. Sue also led the Clean Up which raised $1000 and she involved the Volunteers of America Men’s Residential center in many activities which is key to helping Eliot’s livability.
So, hats off to the Community members who joined the Community Conversations last October and to the many Board members and volunteer leaders that make Eliot a great place to live. Please join us for our General Membership meeting where Board members will be nominated or volunteer and elected by the general members who attend. If you are interested in being involved, the Board is creating a Nominations and Welcoming committee to talk with interested Board members or volunteers. You can begin by emailing me or giving me or any Board member a call.
For further suggestions or feedback, contact any Board member.