The Greater New Orleans Foundation and Councilman Mark Spears want to hire a community liaison for the Woodmere neighborhood to help organize programs and volunteers in the Harvey community.
Spears said the nonprofit came to him about six months ago with the idea of hiring someone from the neighborhood with the appropriate education and experience for the job, which will involve connecting residents with resources to improve education, public health, employment, public safety and neighborhood revitalization.
Spears said the new office’s responsibilities would include heading up tutoring and mentorship programs with the local high school, helping connect residents with career fairs and crime prevention initiatives, and building awareness about community events and public resources.
“It’s just about connecting the need to what’s available out there,” he said.
The Jefferson Parish Council will vote on whether to approve the two-year cooperative endeavor agreement creating the position at its meeting at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Yenni Building at 1221 Elmwood Park Blvd. in Harahan. Spears noted, however, that it will be amended beforehand to reflect that the $60,000 figure for the two-year agreement is per year, not total.
Spears said about $50,000 will go toward the employee’s annual salary and the rest will be for materials and other costs.
GNOF, which would not comment, will make the hire and oversee the office, and Spears said there is a candidate already in mind, though he would not release the name.
Spears said the position could be filled as soon as next month and will have an office at Woodmere Playground, though he said the planned $1.6 million community center at Woodmere Park on Edgewood Street could ultimately be its home.
Spears praised GNOF for taking the initiative and said the Woodmere community’s commitment to improvement was evident earlier this month when residents turned out at the council meeting to support the demolition of a blighted building on Destrehan Avenue.
“There’s a lot of people who take pride in their community,” he said, noting Woodmere has 13,000 residents “who want a better subdivision.”
Spears noted the idea for community liaison came well before Woodmere gained renewed notoriety after the body of 6-year-old Ahlittia North was found in a trash can in front of an abandoned apartment building.