NeighborWorks Week

Join us for BBQ on Friday, June 13th at 12:00 Noon as Rural Neighborhoods launches the new Steven Mainster Youth Enrichment Center during our NeighborWorks Week 2014 celebration at Everglades Village. The brightly colored 3,692 square foot structure designed by local architect Ron Dorris and financed by USDA Rural Development will offer neighborhood children and adolescents after-school enrichment activities from homework assistance to arts and cultural learning. Local artist Carlos Salgado will also unveil his most recent mural depicting Latino youth in the building courtyard.

In imagining scores of children crowded around work tables each afternoon led by enthusiastic instructors, I am reminded of the undaunted idealism and hope that imbued every grant request, project and action undertaken by Steve as co-founder of Centro Campesino. This space – on this ground – is a fitting salute. His unwavering advocacy gave Everglades Labor Camp residents a voice in this neighborhood and helped lead to the creation of Everglades Community Association in 1982. His relentless phone calls and meetings in the weeks after Hurricane Andrew resulted in our charitable group’s lead role in this labor camp rebuilding.

For 40 years, Steve created homeowners, trained workers for better jobs outside agriculture, helped farmworker children do better in school and – as a result – lifted farmworker families out of poverty. He inspired a generation of those just a few years younger to be undaunted, step up and take charge. He taught me (and others) to answer, yes, rather than no, when an unmet need beckoned.

During NeighborWorks Week, NeighborWorks America and its network of local organizations like Rural Neighborhoods mobilize tens of thousands of volunteers, businesspeople, neighbors, friends and elected leaders nationwide in a week of neighborhood change and awareness. Be part of our celebration on Friday, June 13th and see one more remarkable hands-on accomplishment in which Rural Neighborhoods is engaged.