South Partners In 'Empowering Change'
Posted on August 31, 2017 by Aldyn Miller
The University of South Alabama and community leaders from throughout Mobile County are partnering on the launch of Empowering Change: Strengthening Our Community Connections, a series of educational, cultural and social events for people in Mobile County that will serve as a catalyst to explore and experience different values, perspectives and backgrounds through a range of programs and service opportunities. Information is available at EmpoweringChangeMobile.com.
Founded through a partnership between the University and the Community Foundation of South Alabama, and supported by grants from the Newman’s Own Foundation and the County Commission of Mobile, the Empowering Change initiative will include a day of community service on Sept. 15, a series of facilitated discussions in local high schools, a community day during the Sept. 16 South Alabama Jaguars home football game at Ladd-Peebles Stadium, and a culminating free dinner and community panel discussion on Sept. 25 at the USA Mitchell Center featuring award-winning journalist Soledad O’Brien.
The Empowering Change events all focus on the theme of inclusion, defined by the participating organizations as “the intentional, ongoing act of creating environments in which any individual or group is welcomed, supported, valued and empowered to interact with people, systems and institutions.” The Empowering Change steering committee used this definition to develop its vision and mission, and to design programming for the initiative.
“A core component of the University of South Alabama’s mission is to make a difference in the lives of the people in the Gulf Coast region,” said USA President Tony Waldrop. “When we were approached by the Community Foundation to partner on this effort, we immediately saw an opportunity to fulfill that part of our mission and to facilitate constructive conversations about the issues and challenges of our times.”
Community organizations participating in Empowering Change include: Austal; Bishop State Community College; the Boys and Girls Club of Southwest Alabama; Mobile County Commission; Mobile United; Mt. Hebron Church Ministries; Spring Hill College; Office of the Mayor, City of Mobile; and United Way of Southwest Alabama.
“The Empowering Change initiative provides a unique opportunity for individuals and organizations from throughout Mobile County to come together, work together, and build a better future together for our communities,” said Merceria Ludgood, Mobile County Commission president. “If anyone has been seeking an opportunity to make meaningful strides in improving the lives of their neighbors, this is a perfect way to get involved and take action.”
Empowering Change was established by the Newman’s Own Foundation as an opportunity to develop programs, activities and interactions focusing on a systemic issue in communities and institutions. The program was designed and developed at the University of Hartford, and Mobile will be only the second location to host an Empowering Change program.
“We are honored that the Newman’s Own Foundation selected Mobile as a place where it believes Empowering Change can make a difference in the lives of our citizens,” said Rebecca Byrne, president of the Community Foundation of South Alabama. “With the partnership of the University of South Alabama and the support of the City and the County, we are excited to build upon and complement the many efforts to foster an inclusive and welcoming community in Mobile.”
In order to focus the initiative, Waldrop and Byrne hosted a gathering of community representatives from Alabama Power, the City of Mobile, the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, Mt. Hebron Church Ministries, Spring Hill College, United Way of Southwest Alabama and the University of South Alabama to discuss a vision for Mobile and to answer the question: “Mobile would be better if…?” After these conversations, it was decided that the Empowering Change Mobile initiative would focus on inclusion.
“I’m pleased that the committee decided to focus on inclusion as a theme, because it is a pathway to empowerment and change for individuals,” said Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson. “I’m looking forward to seeing all of these dedicated individuals and organizations work together to build an even greater sense of empowerment in our community.”
About Empowering Change
Empowering Change: Strengthening Our Community Connections creates educational and social interactions for people in Mobile County as a catalyst to explore and experience different values, perspectives and backgrounds through a range of programs and service opportunities. Through the creation of these opportunities, we will deepen our collective commitment to being an inclusive community that empowers individuals and values our rich cultural diversity. The vision for Mobile through the Empowering Change initiative is “to become a community in which all persons are welcomed, included, valued, respected and empowered to thrive and succeed.”
Empowering Change Partners
Austal; Bishop State Community College; Boys and Girls Clubs of Southwest Alabama; The Community Foundation of South Alabama; Mobile County Commission; Mobile United; Mt. Hebron Church Ministries; Office of the Mayor, City of Mobile; Newman’s Own Foundation; Spring Hill College; United Way of Southwest Alabama; University of South Alabama.
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