The backbone of the Whatever It Takes initiative is our Neighborhood Leadership program.

By identifying natural leaders within the neighborhood and providing them with the education and training needed to develop their natural talents, Whatever It Takes is building a sustainable network of on-the-ground experts to guide the process and implement solutions for childhood success.

Neighborhood Leaders partner with service providers to lift up themselves, their families, and their neighborhoods. Service providers partner with Neighborhood Leaders to more effectively fulfill their missions. As ambassadors in the broadest sense of the word, Neighborhood Leaders keep the collaborative honest, humble and focused on their reality, and call other partners to task when they succumb to self-importance. Within their neighborhoods, they validate and extend the work; they alleviate suspicion born of decades of well-meaning “helpers” who have begun but failed to finish projects; and in our plan they actually extend education into their neighborhoods formally and informally.

      Neighborhood Leadership in Action      

Sonya, a Neighborhood Leader living in Jack R. Wells, had always been suspicious of police. In her mind, they existed to harass or arrest her neighbors and friends. That’s until she went through the Citizens Police Academy. Now she knows the police. She’s friends with them. When she sees something, she calls. When the police arrive; she directs them. She calms her neighbors’ fears. Since Sonya’s graduation four other women have gone through the same training. The police department had never been able to get anyone from the neighborhood to enroll in Citizens Police Academy before WIT. Now Sonya and her friends have organized a neighborhood watch.

This is how real change happens. On the ground. In the Neighborhood. Door-to-door. Face-to-face. Person-to-person.