Every year, DHIC is invited by NeighborWorks America to bring a resident leadership team to Community Leadership Institute (CLI), where the group works together to identify potential community involvement projects. 

This year, the resident leadership team chose to put on National Night Out events at two different communities: Beacon Ridge and The Village at Washington Terrace. National Night Out is an annual, nationwide campaign designed to promote a sense of community and foster a relationship between neighbors and law enforcement officials. 

While our resident leadership teams have always provided feedback about community events, this year, they took the lead on the planning, creating fun and engaging events with the support from DHIC’s Resident Services team that were enjoyed by residents of all ages.

Manager of Resident Services, LaTonya McKoy explains, “One of our values as an organization is centering our residents. We can’t pull these events off without their invaluable feedback, input, and ideas.” The resident leadership team’s creativity was particularly on display at The Village at Washington Terrace, where the event had a 70s, 80s, and 90s theme complete with costumes and a DJ playing all the best hits of the three decades. 

At both events, the resident leadership team also put a focus on pouring back into the community by hiring Black-owned businesses and vendors. LaTonya explains, “We could have ordered food and desserts from a grocery store, but we knew it would mean more to our community to help support local Black-owned businesses instead.” 

Honeybear Concessions & Catering, which is owned by a former Washington Terrace resident, provided fried fish and peach cobbler at the Village at Washington Terrace and grilled hot dogs and hamburgers at Beacon Ridge. The Sweet & Savoree Sisters made cupcakes for the event at The Village at Washington Terrace. 

The Raleigh Police Department and Chief of Police also came out with McGruff the Crime Dog, to promote crime prevention and safety awareness. Neighborhood children had the opportunity to check out the police motorcycles and interact with law enforcement officers in a fun, caring environment. Local nonprofit, WAKE Up and Read was onsite as well, handing out free children’s books and helping to foster a love of reading from a young age. 

Most importantly, the events provided an opportunity for residents to build meaningful connections with their communities. 

LaTonya explains “At the Beacon Ridge event, the new principal at Southeast Raleigh Elementary came out and quizzed residents on fun facts while handing out popsicles. I saw a little girl enjoying one of the popsicles and she told me that her principal was there. To her, it was like seeing a hero out in her neighborhood, which was really special. We also had residents connect with the DHIC Homeownership Center staff and DHIC President, Yolanda Winstead, asking about home buying opportunities. Without these community events, it would be much harder to foster these relationships.”

After the success of the National Night Out event, the resident leadership team at The Village at Washington Terrace, which has named themselves “The Sunshine Committee,” has more community activities planned. From hosting regular Bingo nights to preparing welcoming gift baskets for new residents, it’s all in the name of building a stronger community.