The Urban Action Network designed and developed REAP, provides funding for the initiative and directs its activities. In 2018, Allissa Hall, Executive Director of the Family Communication Centers, worked in close partnership with REAP hosting its monthly meetings and supporting REAP activities.
REAP seeks to foster concrete neighborhood-level improvement in East Springfield first by creating a collective vision among residents for positive change followed by the implementation of resident-generated and resident-led community-building strategies and actions.
By tapping into the energy, creativity and resilience of local resident activists, REAP cultivates ongoing, trusted relationships among East Springfield residents who are working together to build a thriving, cohesive neighborhood.
The Resident Engagement and Action Project (REAP) began hosting Friday evening, 2-hour sessions on July 7, 2017 with 12-17 identified residents. Engagement sessions were facilitated by DeAndre Neal and Sam Johnson. Every other Friday evening, participants followed structured agendas that encouraged lively and open dialogue in both large and small groups and enjoyed a delicious dinner provided by Queen B catering.
Participants shared their thoughts on topics such as the impact of poverty on their communities, why violence occurs in their neighborhoods, the impact of drugs and incarceration of males on families and female heads of households, stigmas associated with mental health, and more. The sessions quickly move from the identification of broad challenges to asking participants to visualize their ideal neighborhoods, community asset mapping and the generation of ideas for small-scale, doable actions they can accomplish in their neighborhoods.