Its been an amazing few months here at Manchester Proud! We are truly inspired by the community’s enthusiasm around working together and hearing each other’s experiences, needs, and hopes for the city and it’s schools.

Just last week, over 65 Manchester organizations, including the Boys and Girls Club, the Manchester Police Department, YMCA, United Way, Manchester Health Department, and the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce participated in a Community Resource Mapping workshop on October 18 hosted by Manchester Proud. City service providers began by assessing their collective resources and creating a shared vision of what a robust network of school-to-community partnerships might look like for Manchester.

“Thriving schools lead to thriving communities. Seeing our city’s resource providers come together today to maximize their collective impact demonstrates our city’s commitment to the students of Manchester,” said Mayor Joyce Craig, who participated in the workshop and has been one of our most vocal supporters.

“We had really good and realistic conversation and a lot of great suggestions. We then posed a question to the group: We talked about what is worsening, but what is getting better? Is anything getting better? And resoundingly, everyone said, Manchester Proud. This is what is getting better,” said Jeanine Tousignant, business owner and resident of Manchester. This is something we hear a lot from people at the homes we are canvassing and from community, school, and business leaders.

A panel of national experts on school-to-community partnerships also joined the group virtually to share their experiences and best practices and to demonstrate their support of this great effort.

This Community Resource Mapping Workshop happened just as we wrapped up canvassing around the city, having knocked on the doors of nearly 2,000 residents to hear their individual thoughts about the Manchester public schools, their students, and the city they call home.

We have held town halls, attended Parent-Teacher Group meetings, school staff meetings, open houses and more. Having a Manchester Proud representative at almost 60 school and community events has allowed us to engage in conversations with at least 2,400 people. It’s exciting to see how energized the community is. People are regularly contacting us to ask how they can become a part of this effort. To date, we have built a volunteer base of over 100 people.

We have also created a set of accessible tools and channels to engage with those who cannot attend an event in person, want regular updates on the progress of Manchester Proud, and those who prefer virtual methods of engagement to those in person. This includes our website, which houses a community survey and a newsletter signup. The community survey is designed for folks to share their concerns, needs, and hopes for the city of Manchester and it’s schools. To date, 660 people have completed community surveys. We invite folks to share this survey with everyone that lives, works, and goes to school in Manchester! This is a way to ensure your voice is heard as part of the process.

Listening to the experiences, needs, and hopes for Manchester and its schools will continue over the next three months. Manchester Proud has 100 community engagement sessions scheduled for families, students, educators, school staff, residents and community members. The schedule for these sessions will be posted soon and will include an RSVP link. Follow us on Facebook or join our mailing list to find out when listening sessions will be held.