Community building puts residents at the forefront of efforts to build sustainable and thriving neighborhoods. Community building happens when people from across the community come together to imagine their ideal community and then use their resources and guidance from Self-Help Enterprises to achieve those visions.
The community building process works to increase resident self-sufficiency, improve quality of life, and create safe and healthy living environments. This is achieved by building on community strengths, working together, forming partnerships, and encouraging broad participation.
Because disadvantaged, rural communities often lack the human capacity to effectively lead their communities through issues they face usually due to lack of training, not lack of heart, Self-Help Enterprises builds healthy communities by empowering people to be leaders in their communities. Through the organization’s Community Development department, staff facilitates the formation of local volunteer water boards in disadvantaged communities and assists with community education, project planning, funding applications and project management for clean water systems.
Self-Help Enterprises hosts the San Joaquin Valley Rural Community Leadership Institute to address a broad range of community issues. Organized by Self-Help Enterprises and Community Water Center (CWC) and instructed by Rural Community Assistance Corporation-New Mexico (RCAC), this training experience can sharpen community leaders’ abilities, and provide the tools and techniques to become effective leaders to improve their communities. The Institute is intended to provide residents from communities throughout the San Joaquin Valley with training sessions that include conflict management and effective communication skills. Workshops also provide guidance on how to manage change and guide their communities through those changes, budgeting, public relations, community resource development and building other skills.
Working at Self-Help Enterprises allows me, as an educator, to utilize best instructional strategies with adult community leaders to increase their personal knowledge base, improve their own leadership and decision making capacity to engage other community members to do the same as much as is reasonably possible.
~ Sue Ruiz, Self-Help Enterprises Community Development Specialist
In Self-Help Enterprises’ apartment rental communities, community centers within the rental communities serve as hubs that strengthen the link between residents and engagement in social action. Throughout the San Joaquin Valley, the community centers are made available to other organizations and nonprofits who offer a variety of programs and services for residents and their neighbors in the community. This includes recreational, educational, social, health, civic and cultural opportunities for students, families and the community that lead to an improved quality of life in the communities they call home.
The Goshen Women’s Association, based out of Self-Help Enterprises’ Goshen Village I and II rental apartment community centers, is dedicated to the promotion of women through leadership, networking, support and education. As an association the group identifies and implements goals that improve their community. One of their main priorities is to recruit women into their group to participate in their weekly free exercise classes to help them make better health care choices for their families while staying fit and healthy.
Through these combined community building efforts, Self-Help Enterprises creates enhancement of community among individuals and builds strong neighborhoods.