Stories from the North End: Brenda Morris

Stories from the North End: Brenda Morris

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STORIES FROM THE NORTH END:
“I first got connected with NECIC when I began volunteering as a receptionist for them. I quickly learned that this is the place to be if you want to know what’s going on in Mansfield. If you don’t know how to do something or if you want to know who your contacts are or if you want to help make things happen in the North End, NECIC can help.”

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BRENDA MORRIS
I lived in Atlanta for thirty years, but I came back here in 2008 to take care of my mother when my sister passed away. At age 83 my mother remarried, and left me! But I still stuck around because being back here has been good for me. This is where I grew up. I’m back home now. A lot of the people I get to interact with everyday are people that knew my whole family. We’ve been in this area for a long time. It’s a tight knit area, everyone looks out for everybody. I hope to see that mindset grow throughout Mansfield.

My mother was very active in the community. I remember her helping at the voting polls, and now I volunteer there, too. She has more community recognition plaques and awards than I do! My sister was also very church oriented and involved. We believe in not forgetting where we came from and giving back to the people around us, so I’m always looking for new ways to do that.

I first got connected with NECIC when I began volunteering as a receptionist for them. I quickly learned that this is the place to be if you want to know what’s going on in Mansfield. If you don’t know how to do something or if you want to know who your contacts are or if you want to help make things happen in the North End, NECIC can help. They helped me get my Ohio community healthcare worker license, so I can work with my seniors—which I love. I’ve taken many courses like “Bridges Out of Poverty” which taught me how to change my mindset and my habits to become economically stable. And through programs like Neighbor Up Night (NUN), I can be a facet in the planning process for things to help improve the quality of life for our neighborhood. I love the idea of letting [North End residents] take the lead in problem solving because no one knows what our neighborhood needs and how to get it done better than we do.

I’ve been able to use the NUN small grants to support a Thanksgiving meal program put on by the American Legion Post 676. I’ve hosted children’s festivals, job skills workshops, and I’m currently planning a family friendly porch party to take place in the vacant lot across from where I live. I really enjoy going out into the community and finding resources we can use. Whenever I’m going somewhere new I also mention my connection to NECIC. Their reputation has opened doors for me that never would’ve been opened. I needed a DJ for the porch party, and now I have two! If I ever need support, I go to the Elder Program luncheon. I always find a whole bunch of individuals that are willing to work with me or just want to attend my events. The seniors love to cook, even if they can’t come they’ll send a dish or cookies for the kids.

I’d like to continue doing more educational events and getting all of our neighbors out to vote. I want people to find their voice, and for the government to hear it. I want to take pride in our neighborhood.

My association with the American Legion Post 676 has also been awesome for me. I served in the Army Reserves for eighteen years, so helping veterans is so important to me. I have been president of the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary for four years. It has been an adventure; I have met the mayor, been to many military functions, and spoken to the Boy Scouts. It’s increased my leadership skills, taught me how to get along with people better, and more. However, I can’t take credit for the work we do, we’re a team. Without the other ladies I could do nothing. My position has also been an opportunity for visibility, as well. As a Black woman and resident of the North End, being able to represent is important.


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