Challenge Project #4 with Bailey Park Neighborhood Development Corporation: COVID-19 Nonprofit Support

When asked why she loved McDougall-Hunt, Akayla Watkins, a youth resident of the neighborhood, responded with, “I love that my family all lives here. When we need something we can walk to see each other. Especially with everything going on. I’m happy to be able to help.” The feeling of pride that comes with living in McDougall-Hunt was echoed by everyone we spoke with, and it shows the level of commitment that residents have to their neighborhood. 

When we first met with Katrina Watkins, Bailey Park Neighborhood Development Corporation’s founder and Executive Director, she spoke with us about the organization’s need to organize its information and develop new ways to communicate with residents. In just a few short years, the organization has turned vacant parcels into an incredible community space and has been focused on providing residents with key resources such as food, home repair assistance, and PPE. Katrina has made this happen simply by picking up the phone, going door to door, and meeting people where they are to help provide them with what they need.

Katrina took time to speak with us every week about our progress to make sure we were meeting her needs.

Seeing Katrina’s commitment, the team of fellows working with Bailey Park NDC realized that the largest area of need Katrina had was around organizational structure. She needed a reliable way to track residents’ needs, compile information, and communicate projects, opportunities, and events to the neighborhood. As such, we chose to dedicate our time to building out a database and survey of resident needs as well as a suite of solutions to help reach everyone in the neighborhood to more effectively satisfy those needs. Katrina is plugged in to what’s happening in the neighborhood, and we hope that our work will save her time in front of a computer and enable her to spend more time doing what she does best: connecting with people and making genuine, significant, and positive change. 

When we first started on this project, we had the pleasure of speaking with Sandra Williams, a lifelong resident of McDougall-Hunt. She told us that her favorite memory of the neighborhood was that she “used to walk down McDougall to high school at King, and there were these trees that created an arch all the way down the street.” Now, she spends her time planting flowers, cleaning up parks, and anything else she can do to restore the natural beauty of the neighborhood. In reality, it is people like Katrina and Sandra that make the neighborhood beautiful.