ARLINGTON, Va. – Arlington County is looking for a diverse group of new recruits for its Neighborhood College program. Neighborhood College is a free, eight-session course that will help residents learn about County government, how to become neighborhood advocates and how to affect change. The sessions will be held each Thursday evening from April 4 to May 23.
Applications for the 2013 Civic Leadership Development Program are due March 4, 2013.
“This is one of those uniquely Arlington programs,” said Arlington County Board Chairman J. Walter Tejada. “It gives residents a chance to really get to know their County government – and to learn how to advocate for their neighborhoods and become active participants in the County’s decision-making process. I strongly encourage Arlington residents of diverse backgrounds to apply and participate- and best of all, it is free!”
Participants will engage in dialogue with a broad range of Arlington County officials in areas of concern to them. They will receive an overview of Arlington County services, with special focus on how the County Board and County Manager’s offices work, human services, Arlington Public Schools, neighborhood planning, volunteer opportunities, and tax assessment issues.
“One of the many things I love about Arlington is that we citizens can actually make a difference,” said Columbia Heights West resident and 2012 ANC graduate, Kay Langenbeck. “In fact, Arlington wants citizen participation. Neighborhood College taught me how to voice my concerns and advocate for issues important to my neighborhood (and all of Arlington). It gave me more skills for effective advocacy, and was also a great opportunity to meet other involved citizens—caring people with great energy. It was an invaluable experience for all of these reasons.”
After participating in Neighborhood College, Ms. Langenbeck studied committed affordable housing (“CAF”) projects in Arlington and became involved in the new Columbia Pike Form Based Code Working Group to help ensure a mix of housing and retail amenities that will attract people of all income levels to the west end of the Pike.
The program particularly seeks recruits from the 11 neighborhood strategy areas:
The free eight-session program will take place between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Thursday evenings from April 4 to May 23, 3012.
Five sessions will take place at Arlington Career Center on Walter Reed Drive near Columbia Pike. Three class sessions will be held at the County Building, 2100 Clarendon Blvd, near the Courthouse Metro Station. Free parking is available at both locations.
The graduation ceremony will take place at the County Board meeting on the evening of Tuesday, June 18.
Neighborhood College is a key component of Arlington’s civic engagement infrastructure. The program builds broader, more diverse participation in Arlington’s civic life. The program’s goal is to give Arlingtonians greater ability to raise and address issues of concern to them in their neighborhoods or the County as a whole as well as knowledge skills that will help them become more involved in a range of volunteer activities in the County.
Since its inception in 2000, Arlington Neighborhood College (ANC) has graduated 241 participants, many of whom have gone on to provide leadership in their communities. Following program completion, participants have served in a variety of capacities, becoming members of advisory groups and commissions, officers in their civic associations, leaders on special neighborhood improvement projects and managers of Neighborhood Conservation plan development efforts, to name a few.
Arlington, Va., is a world-class residential, business and tourist location that was originally part of the "10 miles square" parcel of land surveyed in 1791 to be the Nation's Capital. It is the geographically smallest self-governing county in the United States, occupying slightly less than 26 square miles. Arlington maintains a rich variety of stable neighborhoods, quality schools and enlightened land use, and received the Environmental Protection Agency's highest award for "Smart Growth" in 2002. Home to some of the most influential organizations in the world - including the Pentagon - Arlington stands out as one of America's preeminent places to live, visit and do business.