On Monday, April 26, the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation’s Neighborhood Leadership Program (NLP) graduated 32 students from its 2009-10 program. The event, was held at Wilder Center, 451 Lexington Parkway North, in Saint Paul. Saint Paul Chief of Police John Harrington offered the keynote address, and Alicia Huckleby, Saint Paul Public Housing Agency (PHA), also offer remarks.
“In a world that is networked and where our relationships define our roles, we must have all hands pushing and pulling together for progress to be made,” said Harrington. “The NLP brings residents from various neighborhoods together where skills and relationships develop into positive social change."
Harrington joined the St. Paul Police Department in 1977 and during his tenure has held various roles in the department, including as its Chief since 2004. Through different programs and initiatives Harrington has created a greater sense of community and a reduced crime rate for the city.
Huckleby, PHA Recovery Act Coordinator, said "The Wilder Neighborhood Leadership Program graduates leaders who understand that cohesive leadership and responsiveness to change is at its most effective when guided by the voices of the community."
The 32 NLP graduates represent the various cultural and geographic neighborhoods in the St. Paul area, bringing the multifaceted, diverse community together to have a clear representation of the city. Participants have spent six months in the intensive NLP, which works on the premise that authentic leadership and active neighborhood involvement emerges from visions for positive change. The NLP focuses on Saint Paul's core, urban neighborhoods and provides participants leadership skills with the intent of strengthening community through a healthy infrastructure of services and businesses, ethical leadership, effective local organizations and active citizen participation.
“The people who participate in NLP are individuals committed to creating a strong and vibrant Saint Paul,” said Kate Kelsch, NLP Program Manager. “Through participation in the program they gain skills, connections and personal insight. Each year the NLP group is unique, drawing from different parts of the city and its diverse cultural groups.”