HOPE for North Jonesboro Continues

FEBRUARY 27, 2007 -- POSTED AT 5:45 P.M. CST

JONESBORO, AR -- About a month ago, we showed you how residents and patrons of North Jonesboro were coming together to make a change in their community. It's all part of something called the H.O.P.E. Project. Tuesday, members of the Jonesboro community met at the Holiday Inn for a day long workshop to learn how to best use their available resources.

"It has the potential to change and anything that people remain hopeful on has a chance," says Perry Walker, Sr., the HOPE Project Director.

Walker is the director of project, a grant funded organization that was created to give people hope that positive change is possible.

"The very first thing that we have to do is change the way people think about their community and about even themselves," says Walker.

After interviews and public forums, Walker and his group are now evaluating their information and what they need to do to put their 'Assets in Action.' They're getting input from as far away as Minnesota where Sandra Harris brings her knowledge of how communities can put their resources to good use.

"It really is a push to get adults intentionally engaged in the lives of kids, whether they have kids or not. It is to really help them understand that they can make a powerful difference," says Sandra Harris, a consultant from the Search Institute Vision Training Center.

Several things were discovered in the study of North Jonesboro, such as a strong desire to better their education, jobs, and bring more economy to the north side, all things the HOPE Project says are vital to fix any problems they face.

"Eventually it's going to deteriorate because there's no life in it. But we're trying to bring hope and bring life to that community and hope it can thrive through the things we're trying to do. We just believe that the people of the community are going to get behind us and we're going to see a better north side of Jonesboro," adds Walker.

The HOPE Project will continue its' training with a grant writing workshop for local organizations. That workshop will be held March 26th and 27th at the Holiday Inn in Jonesboro.