A few weeks ago I got an email from my sister-in-law. All it said was, “Thought you might be interested in this: http://downtowncleveland.com/get-involved/city-advocates.aspx.” I opened the link and was so excited to read about the Downtown Cleveland Alliance City Advocate program. The program description started:
Launched in 2009, the DCA City Advocates Program serves to provide civic education and fosters active engagement for rising leaders in the Downtown Cleveland community. Through this unique program, participants gain access to Downtown Cleveland Alliance’s staff and board and engage in open dialogue with many established leaders in the private, public and non-profit sectors. In addition, participants work collaboratively on self-selected projects that support Downtown’s quality of life and ability to attract residents, businesses and visitors.
It seemed to let me do what I already enjoy and do on a daily basis – sharing my love for Cleveland - but in a more organized fashion and with others who share the same love. I filled out the application and anxiously awaited a response. After hitting send I got nervous. Would I be accepted? What if they wouldn’t take me because I wasn’t a lifelong Clevelander? The short responses weren’t difficult but what if I didn’t show my passion for Cleveland in 250 words?
My dad did a similar program about ten years ago in Albany, called Capital Leadership. I’m so proud of him – he was working full time, had two kids and managed to graduate the program. He was supposed to choose one or two projects and we did about five of them – painted a men’s shelter, cleaned up a ball field, painted a women’s shelter, conducted a clothing drive for free distribution and more. Surely a program like this was in my genes?!
Well, I’m excited to say that I’ve been accepted! I’m so excited for the program to begin, and to get more involved with the city where I live, work and love! Some of the past projects that have been done include:
- Working with the City to get a playground built for residents and visitors with children to use.
- Working with property owners to place temporary art and/or informational displays in empty storefronts.
- Creating viral marketing videos and posting to YouTube; creating content for Downtown Cleveland’s Wikipedia page.
- Researching the potential for a public/private partnership to create free transportation on Saturday nights connecting four major hubs of activity in and around Downtown.
Doesn’t that sound great? I’m SO excited to start. I can’t wait to share some of the great things we’ll be doing!