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Adrian Resilient Communities Committee Reports on Challenges of Adrian and Next Steps

March 4, 2019, Adrian, Michigan – The City of Adrian and Lenawee County face a number of challenges. But given the community’s assets – such as caring people and about 800 nonprofit organizations – the community can face those challenges, particularly by building on collaboration already in place among service agencies.

Joel Henricks speaks about Share the Warmth, a homeless shelter in Adrian, while Co-chairs Jennifer Hunter, center, and Sister Sharon Weber, OP, listen.

That was the gist of an update by the Adrian Resilient Communities Committee, formed in response to the Adrian Dominican Congregation’s 2016 General Chapter Enactment on Resilient Communities. The Enactment calls on the Adrian Dominican Congregation to “facilitate and participate in creating resilient communities with people who are relegated to the margins, valuing their faith, wisdom, and integrity.” 

The Congregation spent a year studying resilient communities and shared some of the findings during a public symposium in March 2018 and an educational forum in August 2018. Committees have been formed in Adrian and in the Congregation’s Dominican Midwest, Dominican West, Florida, and Great Lakes Mission Chapters to explore opportunities to build resilience in their regions.

Jennifer Hunter and Sister Sharon Weber, OP, Co-Chairs of the Adrian Resilient Communities Committee, focused their February 25 update on the results of the Committee’s year of research and next steps in collaborating with people of Lenawee County.

Seated in the front row, from left, are some members of the Adrian Resilient Communities Committee, Sister Maurine Barzantni, OP, and Co-workers Joel Henricks, Director of Facilities and Grounds; Brad McCullar, Director of Technology; Amy Palmer, Director of Development; Associate Dee Joyner, Director of the Office of Resilient Communities; and Kris Cooper, Executive Assistant for the Office of Resilient Communities.

Jennifer, Campus Administrator, reported on the statistics that the committee had unearthed: Adrian’s population of 20,000 in a county of 98,000 residents; the median wage of Adrian households, almost $34,000, compared to a national average of $59,000; and a poverty rate of 27 percent compared to a national average of 14 percent. 

Sister Sharon, Vice President for Academic Affairs for Siena Heights University in Adrian, spoke of lessons the committee learned from their own involvement in the local area, as well as from listening to Co-workers, local community members, and Sisters. One of the greatest assets of the area is the attitude of the people, she said. “This is a caring community, willing to help each other.”  

But, Sister Sharon said, people in the community also identified a number of challenges: the lack of accessibility to mental health services, reliable public transportation, food security, jobs with living wages, services for youth, affordable and accessible day care, and affordable housing.

The Committee’s research also focused on effective approaches the Committee and the Sisters, Associates, and Co-workers in the area can take in working with the community to address the challenges. “It helps to start where you’re wanted,” Jennifer said. “Don’t call [people] into your board rooms to sit around your conference room tables or don’t call them into your house. You go to their churches or their park benches or their spaces where they feel the most comfortable, and they’re going to open up to you.”

Sisters and Associates crowded the Rose Room in the Dominican Life Center to listen to an update on the work of the Adrian Resilient Communities Committee.

Habitat for Humanity of Lenawee County, which has worked with the people of Adrian through their East Side neighborhood revitalization program, proved the effectiveness of gaining the trust of the residents. “They learned that it takes years to build trust,” Jennifer said. The hardest lesson of all, she added, is to “give up control if you really want the residents to take charge of their future. Sit back and be a participant as opposed to leading that charge.”

Sister Sharon outlined next steps that the Committee planned for the coming year:

  • To continue listening, especially to those living on the margins.
  • To engage with the County Collective Impact Core Committee, a coalition of five community service organizations that meet monthly and focus on areas of benefit to the county, from health and financial stability to employment and education.
  • To identify and engage with possible partners in the area.  

The goal, Sister Sharon said, is to build resilient communities that feature “sustainability, partnerships based on trust, equity and justice, spiritual wisdom, and healing.”

Serving on the Adrian Resilient Communities Committee are Sister Rosemary Abramovich, OP, Sister Maurine Barzantni, OP, Joel Henricks, Ashley LaVigne, Brad McCullar, Sister Pam Millenbach, OP, Amy Palmer, and Sister Kathleen Schanz, OP. Associate Dee Joyner, Director of the Office of Resilient Communities, and Sara Stoddard, Finance Director, are members ex officio, and Kris Cooper, executive assistant, serves as the Committee’s secretary. 

Adrian Resilient Communities Committee Update


Adrian Dominican Congregation Receives Four Awards from Catholic Press Association

June 26, 2018, Green Bay, Wisconsin – The Adrian Dominican Congregation received four awards from the Catholic Press Association for videos, website content, the 2016-2017 Annual Report, and its Christmas 2017 social media campaign.

The awards were announced at a Catholic Press Awards Banquet June 15, 2018, at the end of the Catholic Media Conference, “Touchdown in TitleTown,” held June 12-15 in the KI Conference Center in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The awards earned were the result of collaboration over the past year among the offices of Communications, Development, Technology, and Vocations.

The Adrian Dominican Sisters received the following awards:

  • "Preach with Your Life," a series of videos produced as vocations outreach, won second place for Best Freestanding Presentation of Online Video: Depiction of Religious Life. First place went to the Catholic News Service. Recognized for this project were Sisters Lorraine Réaume, OP, and Sara Fairbanks, OP, of Formation and Vocations; Scott Miller, of Technology; and Ashley LaVigne, Angela Kessler, and Sheila Wathen, of Communications.

  • Hope,” a prolonged social media Christmas fundraising appeal, which ran from November 28, 2017, through December 29, 2017, took second place for Best Social Media Campaign. The HOPE Campaign consisted of a series of five videos, which were posted on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube and sent to donors in a series of emails. “This campaign uses compelling videos with a consistent brand experience,” the judges commented. “It is no surprise that last year’s fundraising achievements were exceeded!” Co-workers involved in this appeal included Scott Miller, Technology; Amy Palmer, Development; and Ashley LaVigne, Angela Kessler, Sheila Wathen, and Jessica Havens, Communications.

  • Counting our Blessings,” the 2016-2017 Annual Report for the Adrian Dominican Congregation, received honorable mention in the category of Best Annual Report for a Catholic Nonprofit Organization. Among those involved in producing the Annual Report were Amy Palmer, Development, and Angela Kessler, Sister Barbara Kelley, OP, and Jessica Havens, Communications.

  • A selection of five “What’s Happening” news articles, written by Sister Barbara Kelley, OP, and published on the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ website from September to November 2017 received honorable mention for Best Online Content Not Published in Print: Written Content. The articles entered were  “Sister Barbara Cervenka, OP, Paints 1,000 Cranes for Iraq”; “Aftermath of Shooting Brings Trauma and Support to Hospital Community”; “Former Adrian Dominican Sisters Continue to Influence the World”; “Literacy Center Volunteer Helps Distribute More than 12,000 Books to Flint Children”; and “Adrian Dominicans Inspired by Beatification of Solanus Casey.”

 

 

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