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Building Up Bedford-Stuyvesant, Pt. II

A successful attorney, executive and Bedford-Stuyvesant native reflects on how we can all build a better neighborhood.

As Bedford-Stuyvesant gears up for a community building summit, one very successful local reflects on his experience with what he calls a “rare and unique” opportunity.

“This kind of work has shaped my life,” says Colvin Grannum, president of the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation. The work Mr. Grannum is speaking of is the “."

The three-day intensive workshop is set to happen at Restoration Plaza, August 17 - August 19, geared toward bringing people together to develop an aligned vision for accomplishing personal and community-based goals.  

Mr. Grannum has provided the training to nearly every one of his employees at Restoration and has been pivotal in bringing it to the community at large.

“This is a rare opportunity to think about the things that are important to them and how they are progressing toward those things both individually and as a community in a very safe environment and it is an opportunity to build relationships in that safe space,” says Grannum.

Bed-Stuy native Colvin Grannum graduated from Erasmus Hall High School before going on to higher education and acquiring a laundry list of accolades in the private and public sectors.

He worked for the United States Department of Justice and has provided ten years of leadership at Restoration Corporation, tackling key issues to the Bed-Stuy community, including closing the educational achievement gaps, supporting the arts and commercial restoration of the neighborhood.

“We are a very diverse community. But still, one-third to 40 percent [of the population] lives in entrenched poverty, is disconnected from a lot of the resources that are needed to advance economically.

"We have to do something about it because if we don’t, we are going to have a very polarizing community,” he says.

A lot of the course work of the summit ties into fundamental principles like participation, ownership, accountability and integrity, Grannum points out.

“I consider this to be mostly personal development. I think that the stronger people are and the more aware they are of who they are and how they behave, the more likely it is that they can work in teams.”

Price will not be a barrier. Grannum wants people to know full and partial scholarships are readily available.

“Some of the principles are rooted in the wisdom of the ages,” he asserts. “Some of this stuff is so fundamental that everybody should have exposure to it and at no cost, where needed.”

Grannum is hopeful that Bed-Stuy’s natural leaders will step up, or perhaps, the next community leaders and change-makers will begin to take root.

Pre-registration forms are available. For further information, please call Doris or Rachel at 718. 636.6930 or visit the event's listing on Restration's website.

Boukan Collins August 11, 2011 at 03:44 PM
Thanks for doing something in an effort to improve conditions for those struggling and most in need in Central Brooklyn. I am very interested in knowing how you will effectively recruit and include Bedford-Stuyvesant's natural and often overlooked future leaders for participation in this leadership training weekend. How will the community be able to stay informed about outcomes from the event and ongoing implementation of these plans?
Colvin W. Grannum August 11, 2011 at 05:28 PM
Thank you for your excellent questions. As to recruitment of new leadership, we have cast a wide net by inviting current and future leaders including mailing more than 300 invitation letters, emailing scores of personal invitations, soliciting the names of young people who have demonstrated leadership in local activities, postings on Restoration's website and Facebook page, email blasts, and articles in Our Times Press and Bed Stuy Patch as well as banners inside and outside of SuperFoodtown of Bedford Stuyvesant. We are also offering partial scholarships in an effort to remove money as a barrier to participation while also being responsible in encouraging the community to participate in covering the costs of the forum. I interpret your second question as relating to community engagement and accountability. One of the goals of the summit is to have the participants fashion plans for implementation of specific projects, inclduing community mobilization, and providing community updates. As your question suggests, successful implementation of such processes is one of the elements that will foster community breakthrough and transformation. Please send us best wishes if you are unable to join us. Thank you. Colvin Grannum Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation
Erica Steverson August 14, 2011 at 08:56 PM
Best Wishes on what will be a powerful summit. I recently completed a similar course that helped me recognize the obstacles in my life and more importantly gave me the tools to set them aside and contribute more powerfully in my relationships. I commend you for providing the access of this work to the larger community.

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