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Saying Goodbye to 2018 Americorps VISTAs

For the past 12 months, Kiara Brown, Jessica Puckett, and Neema Tamang have worked hard to build capacity at the Better Block in both our Dallas and Akron offices. They have become part of our little family, bringing us joy, challenging us, and connecting us with their communities.

Kiara conducted community research about The House Next Door, developed new community partnerships, and created handbooks with best practices about the function and maintenance of the Exchange House. She has painted with neighbors, learned the traditional Karen dance with bamboo, and facilitated a conversation at Multilingual Meals in the Backyard. We are grateful for the data she collected, the people she mobilized, and all of the time she gave to build community in North Hill.

Neema increased our visibility and partnerships within the immigrant communities by developing and implementing community programming and producing a video series that featured the stories of various immigrants in North Hill. Since the Exchange House opened, he has been instrumental in bringing people from all cultures and identities together for cultural enrichment and entertainment. We want to give a huge thanks to Neema for his passion and commitment to the Exchange House throughout the last two years.

Jessica researched grant opportunities, organized our database, taught us how to use the database (which was way more difficult than any of us ever thought it would be), kept the wheels running on the Duluth Better Block, and conducted surveys measuring the Better Block’s impact over the past three years. She also did a lot of behind-the-scenes tasks that kept our plants green and our closets organized.

We are eternally grateful to all three for their service, and are excited to see the next chapter in their lives.


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