Conversations

A group discusses how to better improve life on the Eastern Shore during the Baywood Village community conversation Thursday, Dec. 11. From left are Bishop C.M. Tilghman, pastor of Potters House Ministries and president of the Kent County chapter of the NAACP; the Rev. Issac Wilson, pastor of Mt. Olive AME Church in Worton; Becca Bigelow, third-grade teacher at Worton Elementary School; and LaToya Murray, program administrator of Family & Community Partnerships of Kent County and The Butterfly Nest Inc.

FAIRLEE — More than 35 people from Kent County and beyond participated in the Baywood Village community conversation Thursday night, Dec. 11, at Potters House Ministries.

Jennifer Hicks, of Fusion Partnerships Sustainable Delmarva, said the community conversation aimed to bring together those who provide services such as education to the community, brainstorm ideas and learn about the different programs and opportunities available.

“The fact that you’re here means you’re curious and have some connection to the sense of community,” Hicks told attendees.

Mandrell Moore, president of the Baywood Village Tenants Association, said the conversation should help expand the association’s mission of ensuring the well-being of all those within the Baywood Village community.

“We’re just here to help, enhance and make things better as a whole,” he said.

The conversation’s first part consisted of those present breaking into groups of three and getting to know one another. Table hosts wrote down the groups’ thoughts on three questions Hicks and her team prepared in advance.

The questions revolved around what makes the community special, the advantages and disadvantages of living and working in the area and hopes for the future.

Hicks said the community being discussed extended beyond Baywood Village, including Kent County and the rest of Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

“You’re bringing in new views and combining them with others,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a native to the area or not. It’s what you’ve experienced since being here and taking inventory.”

During the table discussions, Hicks walked around and took notes on what people were saying. The conversation resumed after a dinner break.

Hicks had the table hosts come to the front and give her their notes, which she wrote down on a giant pad. The overall consensus seemed to be that the communities are indeed unique not just because of the location, but also because of the people who formed them and how their actions reflected the spirit of community.

However, the reports also showed the issues people thought need to be addressed, such as lack of employment, drug problems and the welfare of the county’s youth. One audience member said there was not a bus route for those in Baywood Village. A proposed solution was having Delmarva Community Transit form a schedule for those in the Fairlee area.

Hicks provided materials on how to become involved with the anti-drug movement in Kent County and showed several programs that help with job searches and preparing for a career.

She said the responses provided by participants will be used to help create changes for Baywood Village.

The conversation was part of Fusion Partnerships Sustainable Delmarva’s “The Possible Dream Project,” aimed at “creating opportunities that foster self-sufficiency, leadership and connection,” according to the organization’s website. Hicks hopes the initiative will extend beyond Baywood Village.

She said the conversation was funded through a grant from the Family & Community Partnerships of Kent County.

According to a news release, the conversation also received assistance from various organizations in the county, such as the Bayside HOYAS, the Kent County chapter of the NAACP and the Kent County Career Center.

For more information on “The Possible Dream Project,” visit www.sustainabledelmarva.net or call Hicks at 443-282-0801.

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