One Chicago, One Nation: Month One of the Community Ambassador Program

Following their February 5, 2011 orientation, at Inner-City Muslim Action Network’s 63rd Street office in Chicago Lawn, 21 Community Ambassador (CA) interns jumped headfirst into their responsibilities as community leaders. CAs in the community development track went to work drafting personal advocacy letters urging political leaders to support interfaith civic action as a tool to foster collaboration and community building. CAs focused on the issue of health &wellness researched Mari Gallagher’s work on food deserts and have started planning ways to educate residents living in these veggie-deprived neighborhoods. CA’s in the arts & culture track directed their energies toward planning and publicizing IMAN’s February Community Café concert in anticipation of a large interfaith attendance. Collectively, IMAN’s CAs have begun to plan a Re-Purposing Community Space event promoting health & wellness.

IMAN’s ambassadors are very passionate about issues that affect Chicago neighborhoods. They bring that same enthusiasm to their weekly collaborative sessions. During these sessions, CAs engage in team building, enrichment of leadership skills, and event planning. Over the past three weeks CAs have learned effective relational-meeting skills, articulated their ideal vision of community revitalization, and continue to work in their individual focus areas. In fact, they’re capturing all their endeavors with flip cams, as they’ll soon be putting together a video montage chronicling their time working with IMAN.

Friday February 25, 2011 is the general public’s first chance to meet these folks in the flesh. They’ll be in full attendance at the Chicago Urban Arts Society, the venue for IMAN’s Community Café that night. That’s right; Community Cafe is expected to be a blast, as CAs have worked hard to ensure its success. Artists are booked, the stage is set and with a theme as hip and relevant as “Healing Planet Rock,” this month’s Community Café will be one for the record books. This is just the tip of the iceberg; there’s much more to come from these burgeoning community leaders.

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