Our Vision for Lowell
We believe communities thrive when families and residents can readily access needed services, and have the leadership and self-advocacy skills to create positive change in their lives and communities. This is best accomplished through mutually respectful partnerships, both with residents and other community organizations.
By listening to each other, appreciating diversity, and fostering inclusion, we can learn from a wide variety of perspectives and benefit from the expression of many talents and abilities. Drawing on these combined strengths and shared vision, we have the opportunity to realize our potential for a vibrant and healthy community life.
The following goals developed through our strategic planning process guide our program work:
Educate families and residents about and improve their access to community resources.
Engage families and residents in community and civic life; empower them to improve their lives and communities through leadership and networking opportunities.
Advocate for families to ensure their voices are heard and teach self-advocacy skills so they can create positive change in their lives.
- Collaborate with community stakeholders to maximize existing resources and develop community-driven solutions to local challenges.
Our programs both fill in resource gaps for Lowell families and neighborhoods, and support community-driven ideas for change. Program highlights include:
REAL Change - Residents Engaged to Act for Lowell supports residents who choose to learn more about and organize actions around issues that impact their families and neighborhoods. Through this community organizing and civic engagement program, we:
- Identify immediate and long-term issues that affect residents
- Develop and participate in community partnerships to strengthen capacity
- Get the word out through neighborhood networks and information forums
- Provide assistance by connecting residents with needed expertise (e.g., legal and technical)
- Sup port resident-led actions for change that are proactive and community-based
Empower: Building Leaders, Strengthening Communities - This new program, offered jointly with the Coalition for a Better Acre, is designed to develop leadership skills at the grassroots level and includes executing projects chosen by program attendees that change neighborhoods or the community as a whole.
Lowell Diaper Bank - Based on the National Diaper Bank model, the Lowell Diaper Bank helps ensure that local low-income families have an adequate supply of diapers for their children. We provide diapers in all sizes free of charge to agencies who work directly with low-income families, including food pantries, day care centers, social service agencies, and shelters.
F - In 2010, the Lowell Alliance partnered with Acre neighborhood residents to turn an empty lot into a thriving community garden. In 2016, Lowell Alliance worked with Community Teamworks' youth to rebuild garden boxes, replace fencing and build a bench for residents. The garden now allows more than 30 families to grow fresh food throughout the summer, and is an oasis where neighbors gather to eat, socialize, and enjoy open green space in the middle of the city. ranklin Court Community Garden
How we got our Start
Since 1999, Lowell Alliance has been a member of Community Connections, a statewide initiative that created coalitions in more than 20 communities to support and strengthen families. Community Connections promotes a planning framework that is prevention focused, strengths-based, resident-driven, and builds upon the diversity of families and communities. It is based on the Strengthening Families framework's Five Protective Factors, developed by the Center for Social Policy and used throughout Massachusetts.
Like its counterparts across the state, Lowell Alliance works to help create a continuum of support services for families and neighborhood groups who need them. We do this by working closely with Lowell residents and local agencies to identify gaps in service, and by providing referrals.
We also seek to empower individuals and families in the belief that a strong network of informed and engaged residents results in increased services and assets for the community as a whole. By taking up leadership roles, residents can create positive change in their neighborhoods and community - essentially, to fulfill their own visions of what they'd like their communities to be.