Leadership Asheville 31 Completes Community Service Projects and LA 31 Graduates Plan to Continue Future Efforts

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The soon to graduate Leadership Asheville 31 class has completed a series of community service projects and created a new website documenting their collective experience. The service projects highlighted four sectors that currently affect the economic health of communities in Asheville and throughout Buncombe County: housing, healthcare, childcare, and transportation.

This year's project has truly changed my opinions and perspectives. It is essential that we encourage all members of the community to contribute time and/or money to the overall financial security and prosperity of Asheville. - Sarah Benoit

In the spring of 2013 the 31st class of Leadership Asheville began a series of community service projects to highlight the importance of addressing healthcare, childcare, transportation, and housing problems in the Asheville area in order to strengthen the overall economic health of the region. This year’s project began with a discussion of living wage and included research on a variety of issues that affect all members of the community, but create major financial problems for lower and middle class citizens. It was decided that community work with the largest impact would center around supporting the efforts of organizations currently working to build and improve housing, transportation, childcare, and healthcare services available in Buncombe County.

On May 18th the Leadership Asheville 31 Transportation team continues the community service project series with an important project to beautify and improve a local bus stop. Graduates of LA 31 also plan to continue their involvement in these important economic development conversations and actions in the future.

Addressing Transportation Challenges in Asheville

The LA 31 Transportation team has chosen to partner with Green Opportunities (“GO”) to address a need for safer, more attractive and overall more enjoyable bus stops. The Transportation team concluded that bus stops and shelters in lower income areas of the city required improvement but here is currently a lack of manpower and materials. In partnership with GO the team will work on a bus stop shelter in need of serious attention at the corner of Livingston and Depot Streets. The work is scheduled for May 18, 2013 and includes clean-up, basic maintenance, and repair such as:

  • Power-washing of entire structure
  • Clean-up of weeds and grass in paving blocks
  • Sticker / tape removal from plexiglass panels
  • Cleaning / staining / sealing of existing wood benches
  • Installation of a new, plywood backed corkboard
  • Removal of all protruding bolts / anchors on floor
  • Re-securing of plexiglass panels
  • Install 2 new railings / barriers

In addition to the project above, members of the LA 31 Transportation team volunteered at an alternative transportation fundraiser/advocacy event and raised money to help start a bike club at Asheville Middle School created to empower and encourage disadvantaged youth to use alternative forms of transportation.

The Continued Work of Leadership Asheville 31 Graduates

In the spring of 2013 members of the LA 31 class has completed a variety of community service projects including:

  • Painting of a Self Help home with Mountain Housing Opportunities
  • Garden building and playground clean up and maintenance at Pisgah View Head Start Center
  • Promoting the 5-2-1-Almost None message at the YMCA”s Healthy Kids Day
  • Supporting Bike Love and the bike club at Asheville Middle School

In order to continue to be a part of the economic development conversations in the region and to support local infrastructure related to housing, childcare, healthcare, and transportation the LA 31 graduates have developed a Wordpress website and blog documenting their community research and service projects. The new site can be viewed at http://leadershipasheville31.wordpress.com. All research and project information will be published by graduation day, which is Wednesday May 15, 2013.

For more information about Leadership Asheville, the LA 31 class, or the community research and service projects contact Barbara Brill, Executive Director at 828.348.0673. Photos are available upon request. To speak with the LA 31 communications team contact Sarah Benoit at 828.242.0277.

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Barbara Brill

Sarah Benoit
JB Media Group, LLC
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