The program goal is to train up Resident Popular Educators; individual residents who act as neighborhood representatives, information providers, meeting coordinators, and all-around cheerleaders with the goal of encouraging their neighbors to be more informed and get involved. This is done through a series of workshops and civic activities. Residents are conditioned to become “agents of change.” Participants understand that through their work, and through their own students’ actions, these will directly impact the betterment of their community resulting in a higher quality of life for all residents.
The City Heights Community Development Corporation, in collaboration with San Diego Housing Federation, has launched a second year of its highly recognized Community Organizing and Civic Engagement partnership designed to help local community organizing be more effective. ‘RPE’s, or ‘Resident Popular Educators’, participate in a series of educational workshops to help them build up and influence their social networks of neighbors, friends and peers. They learn the value of being present and speaking up when important decisions affecting their living conditions are being made. RPEs learn how to speak on local issues, the importance of voting, of being regularly present at their children’s schools, how to understand proposals and bills, and what their impact may be in their communities.
RPEs can be seen in the media or at city hall in support of critical community issues, such as San Diego’s vital need for affordable housing and the highly important living wage issue. Popular Educators also travel up to Sacramento to lobby on important issues such as the rising need for affordable housing funding. The active participation of City Heights’ residents through this educational partnership improves the community by lowering health risks, improving local employment opportunities, and assisting ongoing community development.
While the presence of our current Community Organizing and Civic Engagement Resident Team can be seen locally, we believe this is only the beginning. Civic involvement is on the rise, and the fruit of that involvement is becoming more and more present every day. A great way you can start getting involved is to attend any of the various community meetings here in City Heights. These meetings vary, and range from discussing public policy, affordable housing funding, and advocacy at local and state levels. A listing of these meetings and other events is available on the City Heights CDC Calendar page: http://www.cityheightscdc.org/calendar/