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Priority Community Strategy -- Thrive Wilmington

Thrive Wilmington presents a picture of the changes that can begin to take place in a community where all four of our Impact Strategies have been in place through long-term commitments, along with ongoing and passionate engagement of residents in community participation and civic pride projects, and a robust set of collaborations with other neighborhood institutions. SBCC is currently exploring avenues to replicate the Priority Community Strategy in other cities or neighborhoods within our direct service area.
Wilmington hosts the largest concentration of resident associations (Neighborhood Action Councils, or NACs) in our countywide organizing initiative. This widespread group of engaged community leaders helps to ensure broad, community-wide access to, involvement in, and sense of ownership of the range of other resources SBCC makes available in Wilmington. Most importantly, it positions these resources as tools to be used by residents in a process of self-empowerment and community-building. These resources include all of SBCC's major program initiatives:

  • Preschool Without Walls
  • Community Doula
  • Counseling Services
  • Parent Support Groups
  • Future Leaders Rising
  • Career Pathways
  • Economic Development strategies including community gardening, immigration legal services, and a developing community credit circles initiative

This robust community involvement and high level of supportive resources now extends beyond SBCC programs themselves into ongoing resident engagement in the broader community, with community-led projects spearheaded by participants in our organizing project including advocacy for equitable discipline policies in neighborhood schools, outreach and engagement of the faith community and small businesses, and support for neighbor-to-neighbor education aimed at preventing child abuse.

Engagement in the community at this level finally translates into a deep and passionate sense of community pride. This pride is on full display in I Heart Wilmington, launched by SBCC organizing participants in 2012 and now including hundreds of community residents, elected leaders, business owners, and organizational partners as participants. Each month, I Heart encourages residents individually or as organized groups to perform "Random Acts of Kindness" throughout the community on a selected day. This day culminates in a community walk showcasing the unity and positive qualities of Wilmington, in some cases expanding into a large-scale block party with music and entertainment, cultural activities, and food from the community's rich blend of national cuisines. I Heart Wilmington began as an event to focus on all that's best in the community, and has now grown into an ongoing movement building and deepening the sense of belonging and the possibilities for collaboration.