Commitment to Community

History of C2C:

Sherwood Trust co-sponsored a community forum entitled "Commitment to Community" to foster awareness of the problems and challenges that endanger neighborhood stability, with the goal of setting in motion a community-wide effort to address these areas of concern in an effective and sustainable way. Housing and family issues ranked as the top two priority challenges, with neighborhood identity and health issues tied for third priority. The top three priority solutions focused on reducing blight and deterioration, creating or strengthening neighborhood identity, and developing youth/community centers and activities.

Since that time, Commitment to Community (C2C) has shaped itself as a grassroots initiative to build a strong community through building strong neighborhoods. The Community Network, in partnership with the emerging C2C process, researched national and regional models of community organizing. The success of the City of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods in organizing hundreds of neighborhood projects, (The book “Neighbor Power” by Jim Diers captures this history) was one process that captured the neighbor to neighbor focus C2C envisioned. Using Diers' tenets of "start where the people are," "organize around what interests them," and "meet where they are accustomed to gather," C2C began to walk the streets of priority neighborhoods to develop the capacity of the residents to lead themselves, through ownership of their own agendas. Many other sources helped to shape C2C in its formative years, particularly the work of the Community Network in Bellingham, WA. As a result, C2C has evolved into a learning organization that is guided by a mission statement: "Building a strong community through building strong neighborhoods."

Relationships are the primary focus and starting point for C2C's engagement stage, which is dedicated to developing "hubs of trust" within neighborhoods through relationship-building. Tied to this is project development, ranging from neighborhood trash clean-up days to revitalizing neighborhood parks with new playground equipment. Relationships and projects work hand-in-hand as each sparks development of connections, pride, ownership, and engagement.

C2C has partnered with neighbors, local businesses, city departments, county commissioners, and many more to create a sense of community via positive change in the Jefferson Park, Washington Park, Menlo Park, and the Edith-Carrie neighborhoods.  In both Jefferson Park neighborhood and Menlo Park neighborhood, residents worked together with local organizations to build new playground equipment. In Washington Park there have been numerous murals and clean-ups that have increased neighborhood pride. While in Edith and Carrie, neighbors’ dreams began to come true with the construction of a local neighborhood park, community garden and neighborhood center.

C2C is committed to serve all neighborhoods in the Walla Walla area. C2C's current focus is on serving residents living in the westerly portion of the City, from the County Fairgrounds to WA State Penitentiary. C2C will actively assist any neighborhood (especially those with individuals committed to community leadership) by connecting them with resources that will lead to and encourage a greater sense of ownership among residents of their neighborhood and the issues within it.

C2C Neighborhood Outreach Organizers work with neighborhood residents, their ideas, and vision. This approach represents a process of revitalizing neighborhoods that is comprehensive, collaborative, and grassroots in nature. C2C’s work is an investment in a community process rather than in individual programs and will have positive, sustainable implications for the community at large.

C2C is staffed with a Director to manage the staff, stakeholders, and community relations. The three Neighborhood Organizers build relationships in the neighborhoods and act as stewards for the neighborhood.

C2C is recognized as a program under Blue Mountain Action Council (BMAC), which acts as C2C's fiscal agent and 501(c)3. For a complete BMAC staff list, see BMAC Staff.

Program Director

AndrewWebPic
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Neighborhood Organizers



Washington Park Neighborhood

Delia
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Blue Ridge Neighborhood

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Edith & Carrie Neighborhood

There are opportunities to volunteer at a variety of projects and events throughout the year. It is rare that we have a constant need for volunteers. We do, however, know of many volunteer opportunities throughout the community. Please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

To make a donation to C2C, click here.

C2C's Mission:

"Building a Strong Community through Building Strong Neighborhoods"

Commitment to Community (C2C) is a grassroots-centered program that provides the underlying infrastructure to support residents currently living in some of Walla Walla's most economically-challenged neighborhoods.

C2C starts at the ground level, where the people are, by gradually building relationships and trust with and among neighborhood residents. Its focus is to work alongside residents in a supportive manner without an agenda other than to build a sense of ownership among neighbors and their related issues. In addition, community partnerships support C2C, broadening its capacity to act as a "hub of trust" and/or a "point of entry" for other providers and entities to deliver their services.

Our goal is to build capacity in neighborhoods by helping residents to organize and create social capital. This is one of the key elements of neighborhood revitalization. When neighbors collaboratively engage with each other, they create the confidence and the resolve to achieve the goals that they define and own.

Our job at C2C is to facilitate, encourage, and assist the residents of Walla Walla's neighborhoods to find and build their dreams.

Currently, there is no Outreach Organizer assigned to the Jefferson Park Neighborhood. However, there are several community events that were started as neighbor-driven initiatives: Jefferson Halloween Party (October), Rural Development Initiatives Training (November), and Tree Lighting Ceremony & Neighborhood Christmas party (December).

History

On October 4, 2005, C2C had its first official neighborhood event in Jefferson Park--a neighborhood dinner in the area of West Maple Street. Initial concerns addressed drug activity, speeding, and the perceived deterioration of the park itself to vagrancy, loitering, and drug use. The neighbors' objective to revitalize Jefferson Park with the installation of new playground equipment, created a stronger neighborhood vision. The success, within nine months of planning, attests to their drive and initiative, as well as the strong support and participation of the City of Walla Walla Parks and Recreation Department, the Walla Walla Police Department, and other city staff. It also confirms the importance of projects and neighborhood relationship benefits in building neighborhood participation.

Exercise Path
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In the summer of 2009, neighbors and C2C completed installation of the Life Trail System, a network of exercise kiosks beginning at the Senior Center and continuing along the Garrison Middle School Track. The exercise equipment is another phase of renovation to further enhance the positive atmosphere of Jefferson Park. In collaboration with the City of Walla Walla Parks and Recreation Department, the Senior Center, Garrison Middle School, Walla Walla County Fairgrounds, area neighbors, and community volunteers, the exercise equipment was successfully installed.

Crosswalk
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Due to speeding concerns, Chestnut & Chase crosswalk was sponsored by the City of Walla Walla, the Walla Walla Public School District, and Commitment to Community and dedicated in March 2009. In the fall of 2009, neighbors volunteered to stand at the crosswalks during the first weeks of school. Neighbors' presence sent a visible message to drivers to respect the safety of children walking to and from school.

Seven Home Improvement Projects

In August 2008, residents of the Jefferson Park Neighborhood were invited to apply for mini grants for the purpose of continuing improvements that would be beneficial to all residents in the area. Seven families participated in the Home Improvement Program. All improvements had to enhance the property and be visible to the general public. Benefits ranged from general appearance to increase of surrounding property values.

Playground Equipment

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In the summer of 2007, after months of conversation, and almost a year of planning and fundraising, neighborhood residents along with many community volunteers built new playground equipment at Jefferson Park. Park renovation became a focal point for neighbors throughout the discussions in months prior. Neighbors saw the park as an epicenter of negative activity such as drug use and vagrancy. In order to change the park from a negative to a positive public space, neighbors sought to renovate the space into a great place for families to picnic and play. This park was made possible by Sherwood Trust , City of Walla Walla Parks and Recreation Department, and neighborhood residents, changing the face of Jefferson Park forever.

Hours

Mon-Thurs: 
8:30am to 5:00pm
Fridays:
8:30am to 4:00pm
CLOSED daily from
12:00pm to 1:00pm




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