Shaping Elizabeth held its first Play Street on June 20th, 2015 in Elizabethport. Our excitement could not be dampened by the clouds. Over 25 volunteers prepared for the event. Donald Johnson, Supervisor, Office of Youth Services and Michael Johnson, Director of Association Initiatives organized the event. 15 “Building Future Leader” Teens volunteered AND THEY WERE OUTSTANDING. Krishna Garlic, Director of Health & Human Services, City of Elizabeth and Shaping Elizabeth Work Group Leader, led the team.
The video link https://youtu.be/lO2evywTZ1E shows children and adults participating in events together which was one of our goals. Council Member Carlos Torres, 1st Ward and Council Member At Large and President Patricia Perkins – Auguste supported the event with their involvement and donation of an adult bike for our participation raffle.
We are looking forward to our second play street on July 11th in 5th Ward with Council Member William Gallman.
The Playstreets project has been a model of collaboration. The City of Elizabeth Health & Human Services Department took the lead which brought many city resources – fire, police, volunteers, equipment and more. Partner organizations donated supplies and resources. The YMCA brought leadership and resources. Partnering enabled us to leverage the support of the Council people in each ward.
There are challenges: Marketing Shaping Elizabeth effectively, resources are needed for signage, pamphlets and completion of our Facebook page. Most challenging for me as the Project Leader is giving up control of events and allowing for a different picture to emerge then I might have envisioned. This is hard but worth it.
We will need to leverage funds for marketing materials; we have received a second grant that will resource some marketing materials. The more we continue to work together the easier it will be to give up control.
The community is excited for more play streets and we want to deliver them.