Shelley has been living in Orchard Crossing Apartments for over a decade. She understands the community, cares about her neighbors and is always there when somebody needs support.
When Shelley learned about Maiker Housing Partner’s Community Ambassador program, she was eager to get involved. She had always been an advocate for her community. This was an opportunity to further her commitment to helping that community thrive.
We connected with Shelley to learn more about her work as a Community Ambassador.
Here’s what we learned:
Tell us about how you came to Orchard Crossing. What’s special about your community?
To have stable housing for my three daughters was priceless. I didn’t have stable housing and I was trying to provide that for my kids. The foundation and stability of a home and a community like Orchard Crossing has allowed me to advocate for myself and my neighbors. I’m very blessed to be part of an environment that goes above and beyond to support their residents in so many different ways.
Why did you become an ambassador?
Now that I’m getting older and my family is going in different directions, I want to bring some of my knowledge and support to the community. I’ve been in this community for 10 years. I know a lot about the resources and organizations that are available near Orchard Crossing.
To be a voice that speaks for my unit and the neighbors who live close to me is where the value is. I hear the good and bad of this community and I know what resources and information people need. I’m in a position now where I can advocate for people on different levels. To be able to help the people who need it most, my neighbors I see struggling. To have a program that I go to once a month to learn more about the resources available so I can come back to them and offer new solutions. You have to seek out the change to make the change. That’s why I’m excited about this program.
What community issues do you care about most as an ambassador?
Right now in my community, I’ve been seeing a lot of people struggling with mental health issues – especially kids. We have this group of kids who need to know it’s okay to hurt. I’m trying to advocate for mental health support so that we can support the kids and teens who need someone to talk to.
What do you hope to achieve as an ambassador? Do you have any goals for your community?
I would love to see community support for academics. A place where people, including kids and adults, can go to do their homework and have supportive services. It could help people figure out if they want to go back to school.
Beyond academic support, I’d like some practical education for adults such as training on how to be civically engaged and vote. Education that could tell us what’s going on around us and how our vote does count, especially if we’re voting for things that are going to change our everyday life and community.
The world is so big. If some of these resources can be brought into our community so people can see outside of here, that would really make a difference. We can’t make things better if we don’t speak up and know how to advocate for ourselves.
If you’re a Maiker member who is interested in becoming a Community Ambassador like Shelley, contact Baruky (email@example.com) to get involved. To learn more about how the Community Ambassador program is strengthening Maiker communities, read this Maiker blog.