WILMINGTON — The Clinton Community Fellows will present their work over the past 10 weeks at the August Economic Network Alliance meeting at 8 a.m. Thursday, August 4 at the Hampton Inn & Suites in Wilmington.
This year’s Fellows are Cierra Bolender, Jenna Norman, Jordan Snarr, and Lily Wiliford. They have been working with a diverse set of projects including homelessness, assessing historic properties throughout the county, surveying of local boards, and analyzing workforce trends.
Bolender has worked with the Clinton County Port Authority and the local Workforce Collaborative group on a second round of surveying the local workforce in an effort to understand their needs.
She has also worked with Main Street Wilmington and the Chamber of Commerce in creating a Clinton County photo bank. And Bolender has worked with Art House in downtown Wilmington, setting up an internship with Wilmington College, and working on funding possibilities for kids who want to take art classes but can’t afford it — the Art is Everywhere movement is what they’ve been calling it.
Norman has been involved in creating a board inventory — consolidating information about various boards in the county and make that information more accessible to the public and have it all in one place and significantly, include what each board needs.
She is also conducting a historic building inventory, going into Clinton County villages and doing a basic assessment of some of the older, downtown buildings. She’s also obtaining information such as parcel numbers to “have all of that in one place,” she told county commissioners Wednesday.
Snarr has been looking into getting AmeriCorps volunteers back to the Clinton County area. There are multiple options there, she said, so her end project is helping interested parties understand what the steps are and what the opportunities are with the different agencies.
Her other work has to do with the Community Development Block Grant program — helping see a Neighborhood Revitalization Grant from start to finish. This project will continue after this summer, and a grant application is planned for submission in June 2023. The grant, if awarded, would go toward the Grant and Douglas Streets area of Wilmington.
She told commissioners the City has hired a consultant that she’ll be working closely with, and that a grant award would involve a 5 percent match from the City.
Wiliford has been working on the reality of local homelessness. Jointly with the director of the Clinton County Homeless Shelter, she is trying to create an access-point document so anybody in the community could easily find this document when they come across someone homeless or themselves potentially become someone experiencing homelessness.
The document is meant to advise, as well as inform a person experiencing homelessness that the local access-point coordinator is at the homeless shelter.
Wiliford has also worked with Lee Sandlin at Sugartree Ministries on whether there is something that can be done locally when it comes to what are called “tiny homes” — “what we could do with that, possible funding, and then connect him to different coalitions,” she said.
And she’s been working with Hope House in putting together a wish list for what’s needed donation-wise there that the community can easily access.
Three of the four women attend Wilmington College, while the other is an Ohio Wesleyan student.
Dr. Michael Snarr of Wilmington College has assisted the Fellows this summer.
Clinton County Regional Planning Commission Executive Director Taylor Stuckert encourages members of the general public to submit ideas about things they think would be a good project for Clinton Community Fellows. He said they collect referrals of projects or of potential Fellows throughout the year, and try to make matches upon that.
Typically there are 12 to 15 applicants yearly for the summertime program.
Clinton Community Fellows was founded by Energize Clinton County (ECC), the Wilmington-Clinton County Chamber of Commerce and the Clinton County Regional Planning Commission (CCRPC) to engage young professionals and open professional opportunities locally.
This summer the Wilmington News Journal also produced four interview articles with past Fellows.
This marks the 12th year for the award-winning young professional development program which has now engaged 45 Fellows and assisted over 100 businesses and organizations over the dozen years.
The Fellows receive a stipend for their work which is funded from donations to ECC and support from the CCRPC, the Clinton Community Foundation, Clinton-Massie Business Scholarship Program, and HealthFirst.
Downtown office space for the Fellows is generously provided at no cost by the Wilmington Friends Meeting.
To learn more about the program, please visit clintoncommunityfellows.org .