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Passing the Baton: Neighborhood leaders prepare to mentor their successors

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By E.B. Allen, TheWEIGH and Neighborhood News

Passing the baton signifies many things – working as a team, establishing bonds, carrying lessons forward. To Dotti Sharp, it also symbolizes leadership transitions, turning neighbors into activists for their neighborhoods.

Through her work with Michigan Community Resources (MCR), Sharp recently helped recognize 24 Detroiters at the “Power of One Dedicated Woman” breakfast. The event celebrates women activists who’ve gone largely unnoticed for their efforts in local communities. A segment of the program, held at Detroit’s Scarab Club, called for the women to raise a baton and pledge that they’ll each groom another leader and activist from their neighborhood.

“Power of One” was designed to say: “We see the work that you’re doing,” says Sharp, adding, “We applaud you and we thank you, as well.”

Neighborhood leaders Barbara Harding of Northwest Youth Organization, Leonora Hall of Marygrove Community Association, Shirley Rankin of Warrendale Community Organization, Dotti Sharp, of Neighborhood Exchange (a Michigan Community Resources affiliate), Jacqueline Conley of Southwest Detroit Cornerstone, Phillis Hicks-Judkins of 4Ward Phoenix and Jacqueline Perkins of Great Communities Now! are collaborating to seed their successors.

Neighborhood leaders Barbara Harding of Northwest Youth Organization, Leonora Hall of Marygrove Community Association, Shirley Rankin of Warrendale Community Organization, Dotti Sharp, of Neighborhood Exchange (a Michigan Community Resources affiliate), Jacqueline Conley of Southwest Detroit Cornerstone, Phillis Hicks-Judkins of 4Ward Phoenix and Jacqueline Perkins of Great Communities Now! are collaborating to seed their successors.

The winning nominees were: Jacqueline Conley of Southwest Detroit Cornerstone; Lenora Hall of Marygrove Community Association; Barbara Harding of Northwest Youth Organization; Phillis Hicks-Judkins of 4Ward Phoenix; Jacqueline Perkins of Great Communities Now!, and Shirley Rankin of Warrendale Community Organization.

“We’re hoping to have these women serve as their own cohorts and hold each other accountable for passing the baton,” says Alisha Opperman, MCR education and outreach program manager. “That request actually came from the women themselves. They said they want to keep working together, and asked how we can help them do that.”

Future networking events are being discussed, Opperman says.

Sharp says her desired outcome from future “Power of One” events is that recognition will generate more activism.

Opperman adds, “It’s elevating the stories of these women, so they have greater access to resources. These women are doing, in my opinion, some of the most important work in the city, and we want to help them get the resources to support their work.”

– This blog originally appeared in a new publication, The WEIGH/Neighborhood News Hub. Detroit Unspun is a partner in that venture.

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9 comments on “Passing the Baton: Neighborhood leaders prepare to mentor their successors

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