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There was a time earlier this year when I was writing fairly frequently. I have not been absent because I was tired of the pie fights or not interested. No I have been busy with a lot of volunteer and activist work in my neighborhood. While doing this, I have also been looking for work. My hope was that I could combine my desire to improve the community that I live in and also get paid for it.

I think that I have found the opportunity to do both. In my many activities, I kept running into the head of a small Community Development non-profit that operates in my community. It is called the Division-Midway Alliance for Community Improvement. I decided to go into the office and offer my services as a volunteer. I also said that I would like to focus on activities that will help grow the DMA in a way that might lead to a paying job.

The person in charge of DMA was very receptive to this idea, as was the board of directors. I was very excited because other non-profit organizations I had approached were cool to such an idea, much to my surprise.

Below the fold I will explain how you can help me, DMA, and the community of East Portland that is along SE Division St. between SE 117 & SE 148th Ave.

I believe that things happen for a purpose and when they are supposed to, although it is hard to see and understand sometimes.. Shortly after I started volunteering, we were made aware of a contest that Wells Fargo is sponsoring. There will be five national winners who will win $25,000. Any business can apply to compete in the contest, for-profit, and non-profit. We are competing for one of these prizes.

So how can you help? All you have to do is go to  click
 on the link for viewing the contestants and to vote. Look for Division-Midway Alliance for Community Development and vote for us. Below is the text of our essay. I think it speaks well of what we want to do and how it will help me and the East Portland community along SE Division St.

Please go and vote for us, and spread the word on Facebook, Tweet, or however you do social media. Together we can make a difference.

Here is the Essay:

.The Division-Midway Alliance for Community Improvement is a nonprofit organization created to improve the lives of residents and businesses along Division Street in Southeast Portland.  Our focus area is one of the poorest in Portland along Division Street from 117th to 148th Avenues. With over 70 languages spoken in our local high school, we are known as the United Nations of Portland. We saw this diversity as a strength to develop. The organizers of DMA realized one of the best ways to lift our community out of poverty was to help them become self-sufficient through owning or improving their own business or gaining living wage jobs. Organizers also determined to assure our community receives an equitable share of public investments, which historically has not occurred.

The mission of the DMA is to actively work to create a more prosperous community by helping people rise in place.  We help anyone who strives to become self-sufficient. DMA leads the way to improve the public image of our community, foster public safety, and improve the livability and vitality of businesses and residents of the district through an inclusionary process. DMA advocates for city policies and investments that help improve the lives of the diverse groups that live in our community, and works to ensure their voices are heard when decisions are made which affect them. DMA will help organize and educate those who have not had power so they may speak for themselves and become empowered through those actions.

The majority of our work is done through community volunteers. However, not all of the work we do can be done by volunteers. We currently have on full-time staff person who works over 50 hours a week to achieve our goals. The money from this award will go to paying for a part-time position for a second staff person. It is our intention to seek other funding to expand this position to full-time. One of the duties of this second staff will be to do the community organizing that is necessary to bring people together and improve our community. This will free up the other staff person to work on other duties including long-term resource development.

Our community is our business; rather, working to improve our community is our business. We provide supports to small business, those who want to start small businesses and those seeking employment. Our focus is helping women, people of color, immigrants, or any other disadvantaged group that wants to lift themselves out of poverty by their own means. We will bring people together in the community we serve so we can speak with a common voice to get the policies and investments that we have not received in the past. We will empower people to understand what is happening in their community and how they can impact it for theirs and the community’s betterment. Knowledge and working as a group give people power. We want to help the small business owners and residents in our community gain that knowledge and come together to make our community a better, prosperous, safe, and pleasant place to live.  It shouldn’t depend on how much money you have to live in such a community, and with your help we will work to make sure that it doesn’t.

Our biggest accomplishment to date is developing a sense of identity for our community, one that has not existed before; we are branding ourselves Midway. In the future, we will  bring the investments to our community that will make Midway a better place to live by educating and organizing the community so they have true power.

Originally posted to kaminpdx on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 08:27 AM PDT.

Also republished by Koscadia, PDX Metro, Shamrock American Kossacks, Team DFH, Retail and Workplace Pragmatists - Members and Editors, and DK GreenRoots.

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