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Boston, MA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Developing projects based on residents' priorities

Description: The Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, which serves residents in Boston's low-income Roxbury and North Dorchester neighborhoods, created virtual spaces for intergenerational dialogue on community issues. To do this, the organization hosted a series of workshops, forums and support groups where residents could see one another and share their experiences. Because the area is home to many Cape Verdean and Latino families, DSNI provided interpretation services. They also provided technical support to those who needed it. One highlight was an in-person listening session held at one of Roxbury's last remaining vacant lots, where DSNI recorded residents talking about their needs and concerns. The organization has since added other virtual programming, including a monthly book club.

Manning, IA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Developing projects based on residents' priorities

Description: Manning City Hall possesses a collection of important historical artifacts, but because of space constraints, most of them were kept in storage in the building's basement. To allow residents to see the items, the City of Manning installed eighteen glass display cases and placed them throughout the community, creating a reverse museum tour. They distributed brochures explaining how a reverse museum helps display artifacts without the cost of building a standalone facility. The leaflets also give information on the artifacts displayed, which range from small trinkets to World War II nurse's uniforms. Project organizers say the displays have inspired residents to explore their own basements and attics in search of more items to donate. The project also sparked the local library to open a designated room -- dubbed the vault -- to host larger exhibits.

Brattleboro, VT

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2023

Project Category: Developing projects based on residents' priorities

Description: This project will organize walk-and-talks and indoor workshops led by community members aged 50 to inform residents about the construction of a riverside park and get them engaged in shaping its future development.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Springfield, OH

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: As part of wider corridor improvement efforts, the 1159 Southwest Community Development Corporation activated three vacant lots, transforming them into a public gathering space dubbed Grand Harmony. Volunteers installed porch swings, picnic tables, benches and a new grill at the site. They also added LED lighting and a storage shed. Project organizers say Grand Harmony's success has opened doors for other revitalization efforts. In December 2020, a local foundation provided 1159 South Community Development Corporation with funding to activate a nearby vacant lot into an inspiration garden.

Washington, DC

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Capturing data and feedback from residents

Description: The 1882 Foundation hoped to strengthen community identity and increase civic engagement in DC's Chinatown, particularly among older adults. The Foundation designed a digital map featuring stories about places with historical and cultural significance to the neighborhood's longtime community members, including past and present residents and leaders. The Foundation distributed storytelling kits, which included tools to help participants tell their stories by writing and recording audio. Project organizers provided storytellers with bilingual instructions in English and Mandarin. To promote the initiative, the Foundation held a Mid-Autumn Festival event at the Wah Luck House, an affordable housing complex. Organizers say the digital platform will help inform urban planning policies by ensuring community priorities are included in redevelopment proposals for Chinatown.

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