Reasons For Optimism
Updated: May 12
Hello Friends and Residents of the Oakdale and Boston Square Neighborhood,
Like many of you, I long for a time that we can again call normal. We can all think back just a little over a year ago some of you were sitting in a packed row at the movie theater, or dinning out at your favorite restaurant laughing out loud next to perfect strangers, but suddenly on March 11, 2020 our lives were forever changed. COVID-19 invaded our society, and as not only a community, and nation, but as an entire world we had to make some drastic changes! We had to adapt to wearing mask, and staying home vs going out into the neighborhood. We started getting familiar with phrases such as social distancing, the “new normal”. Even through all of these changes I’m still encouraged! I’m encouraged because during these most challenging times I still see the residents of the Boston Square and Oakdale community banding together to assist each other in a variety of ways. I see business owners in our community working to support our residents who are in need. From my role as Executive Director, and as a resident in this community I am encouraged and very appreciative that I live and work alongside neighbors and business owners who are willing to step up and take responsibility for helping others, and in turn help our community.
As a Christian Community Development/Neighborhood Association Oakdale Neighbors has not slowed down our efforts to carry out our mission of “inviting residents and local institutions to act collectively to create a stronger, safer, more caring neighborhood where all people and gifts are welcome”. The majority of our programs are still able to operate and provide services to the residents of our awesome community. The Boston Square Community Bikes reopened for service on April 1, 2021 and they have not missed a beat! The pandemic has forced us to improvise, however our service to the community is as strong as ever. Our bike shop staff and volunteers have put into place an outdoor (DIY) Do It Yourself plan where customers are still being serviced while at the same time meeting the CDC requirements of practicing social distance, and the wearing of masks. You can view more of what’s going on with the Boston Square Community Bikes in the April 27, 2021 Rapid Growth article entitled Boston Square Community Bikes thrives through COVID-19. Our youth programs which was just recently renamed (Learning Café) has continues to serve the youth of our community with mentoring, coaching, academics, and, entrepreneurial skills training. Our VITA Tax Program as of April 26, 2021 had completed a total of 352 returns, Federal Refunds totaling $394,276, and State Refunds totaling $ 166,068. We had over 620 volunteer hours preparing returns! Our Community Engagement area has continued to consistently meet every third Wednesday with community residents for our safety meetings. They are also meeting a minimum of twice a month to teach financial literacy practices to community residents.
As you can see even during these challenging times of COVID-19, and what many are calling the “New Normal” I am very encouraged and optimistic that we will remain strong and resilient as a community in part because Oakdale Neighbors staff, and our many volunteers have continued to carry out the work that we so passionately care about of helping to create a neighborhood of vitality, and grace by discovering, developing, and connecting neighbors skills, and resources.
Blessings, Rev. Kenneth W. Hoskins, Th.D
Executive Director, Oakdale Neighbors