Community Hubs Task Force
The Community Hubs Task Force reorganized with two new Co-Chairs taking over the reins.
Mikki Uzupes is the Digital Media Specialist for the Wayne County and serves as president of the Wayne Library Alliance. Arrah Fisher serves as Executive Director of The Cooperage Project, which has been settting the standard in community programming. Together, they bring unique perspectives to the concept of Community Hubs and to how they can function in the larger society.
The first order of business in 2022 was to draw a distinction between the Community Hubs Task Force and its mission to create a connective network to serve the needs of the community, and the community hub spaces that are popping up in Hawley, Newfoundland and Hamlin. To that end, they created a brand for this connective tissue:
A business, education & community network for Wayne County, PA
“It was necessary to draw a line between Community Hubs, the Task Force, and community hubs, the spaces,” said Mikki Uzupes. “It was confusing to our partners, it was confusing to the public, and frankly, it was confusing to our funders.”
Community hubs are physical spaces and often the conversation about ‘What do you need?’ comes down to a safe place where young and old can gather. Yet as a Task Force, we are also interested in how these spaces can communicate . . . with each other and the wider world.
WT! Connex will be the connective tissue that brings together all these spaces, where they may produce their own programming to add to the offerings or simply make the services available to those who would like to participate.
“That’s up to the community,” said Uzupes. “We are here to convene, guide and eventually equip each area to join the others in helping local businesses thrive, helping students of all ages to learn, keeping people healthy and getting them connected.”
After convening a group in Hamlin, which was quickly duplicated in Newfoundland, the Community Hubs Task Force moves into the northern part of the county to convene stakeholders there.
Community Hubs are locations that can strengthen communities by providing opportunities for social interaction, increasing access to resources and utilizing more county-wide facilities. The Community Development Assessment identified Community Hubs as a way to build stronger social capital and opportunities.
The Action Committee suggested several topics/goals to consider:
- Consider what needs can be filled by Community Hubs and ways to address the needs of all groups -- home schoolers, senior citizens, entrepreneurs, etc.;
- Identify the key people and organizations that should be involved and find ways to partner with them;
- Find ways to connect existing programs or activities in different geographic areas to make them more accessible (resource guide, video links, standardized programming, visiting groups?);
- Identify gaps both within the community hub network and within the greater neighborhood and how these elements affect opportunities within our communities.