As LIFT Orlando began working at the invitation of Florida Citrus Sports with a focus on the neighborhoods immediately around the stadium, we commissioned the Polis Institute to discover the assets within the community and to learn the desires of its residents. After interviewing over 1,500 people in the largest urban survey ever completed in Orlando, we gleaned critical insights into this historic area of The City Beautiful. Yet, there was more to learn from the community’s most valuable contributors: the neighborhood children.
Through the leadership and facilitation of the staff at ArtWorks, the neighborhood children were engaged in an interactive art project that proved highly effective and revealing. They learned about exciting plans for their community and how they could be involved in the process. The children then learned the meaning of the word assets. They learned that assets can, and do, make their community a better place to live. The children were then asked to illustrate one asset they saw in their community.
Next the children were encouraged to illustrate a dream they had for their community. Dreams are changes that would make their community healthier, safer and more enjoyable. When their art was complete, each child explained why they had chosen their asset and dream and described why it made, or would make, their community better.
Through this beautiful project, we can now see the neighborhood through the eyes of the children. With the information collected from residents of all ages, LIFT Orlando is working to build on the assets discovered in this community in the pursuit of a holistic vision that includes mixed income housing, cradle to career education, community health and wellness and long term economic viability.