KENNETT SQUARE – People filled the pews at Kennett Square Presbyterian Church on South Broad Street on Thursday to celebrate emerging community leaders.
The forum was part of an ongoing local event series called How We Build Matters.
The goal is to build coalitions and create new opportunities for prosperity, among other aspirations and initiatives.
The event was focused on Kennett Emerging Leaders, a scholarship program funded by Square Roots Collective and led by PennPraxis with support from many local stakeholders, including the Kennett Library.
Fellows included Elideth Navarro, Adriana Bedolla, Raul Toledo, Elisa Salinas, Lee Sausen, Mayra Castillo, Sheila Tekavec, Guenevere Finley and Cenuel Rosado.
Navarro, Castillo and Sausen answered questions from moderator Christina Norland, community engagement manager for Square Roots Collective and executive director of Kennett Trails Alliance, during the event. The band also answered questions from the audience.
“We recognize each other as human beings,” Navarro said.
“I have a voice and I will use my voice,” Salinas said.
The prospect of affordable housing was also discussed as well as equality and inclusion in the Kennett area for all people, especially those who may have a different understanding of what it means to belong to them as individuals.
Sausen said being part of the scholarship program was motivating and exciting.
“Everyone looks at our community a little differently and that’s pretty special,” Sausen said.
Applications for the leadership program were accepted in March and selection took place in April. The eight-week program ran from May to June.
PennPraxis, the program leader, is a nonprofit organization of the Weitzman School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
Over the past two years, PennPraxis has studied Kennett and also conducted a community survey in which local places were highlighted, including Anson B. Nixon Park, Kennett area schools and libraries, the market from Liberty Place and the Union and South shopping district to the center. of the borough of Kennett Square.
“These are places where people gather to enjoy family activities, use public services, or even shop or do business,” said Katie Levesque, research associate and project manager for PennPraxis. “Because they enjoy such diverse patronage, these places and the activities that take place there can also be opportunities to reach out and encourage broader and more inclusive public engagement on projects that matter. more for Kennett’s future.”
“Together, the survey results demonstrate that while many Kennett residents wonder if they feel a part of its future, there are also many opportunities to expand public engagement and respond to these concerns,” said Square Roots Collective’s Norland. “This is how we build a better community for all of us.”