Avalon’s VOCAL Tenant Leadership Board

By: Avalon Housing

VOCAL (Voices of Community Advocates and Leaders) is Avalon Housing’s tenant leadership board.  This program, started in 2017, leads participants through a six-session leadership development training. 

In January of this year, VOCAL met to develop their annual work plan. They were energized to continue the work they have been doing in the areas of outreach, advocacy, and tenant event planning and development. They are also looking at ways to increase their outreach in both the Avalon community as a whole and at the properties where they live.  This includes staffing Avalon community centers, helping at Avalon food pantries, and being informed on community resources. In addition, VOCAL continues to look at training opportunities to expand their knowledge and skill set.

In February, VOCAL member Ms. Sharon attended the National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference in Washington D.C. as an anti-hunger advocate, along with representatives from Food Gatherers.  Ms. Sharon learned about hunger in the United States and shared her story about the effects of the government shutdown on food access in her community. Ms. Sharon says: “There was…a workshop on combating food insecurity, racism and discrimination. This workshop brought back memories for me of times when people have tried to tell me how I can and cannot use my EBT (food assistance funds).”  Ms. Sharon was subsequently energized to bring back her knowledge around storytelling, benefit access, and continued support of our youth programming through food!

VOCAL is an important part of the success of our community events, including our annual tenant winter party and summer barbecue.  Most recently VOCAL helped host, and participated in, our annual “Pancake for your Thoughts” event, a tenant feedback forum over breakfast.  VOCAL brings intentionality to the way we think about tenant participation and community building. Interested in tenant leadership and how you can support VOCAL? Please reach out to Morgain MacDonald, Community Building Team Lead, at mmacdonald@avalonhousing.org.

By Morgain MacDonald, Community Building Team Lead