Leadership Eatonville – Class II, a six-session workshop series for Eatonville residents that will enhance community leadership and entrepreneurial skills, started in August with 24 residents of the Town of Eatonville.
The Leadership Eatonville program, made possible through a grant from the Winter Park Health Foundation, was inaugurated last year by Polis Institute (POLIS) on behalf of the Healthy Eatonville Team (HET) to enhance resident leadership capacity to make the town a healthier, more vibrant place. Leadership Eatonville is part of a comprehensive community engagement strategy that was deployed by POLIS in 2016 to engage the town along three tiers: 1) residents; 2) regionally influential leaders (aka Investor Council); 3) supporting entities (e.g. non-profits, churches, civic institutions, businesses).
To initiate the strategy, a team (predominantly comprised of residents) was trained and hired by POLIS to engage town residents in structured conversations at the door of their homes. 383 residents of Eatonville were surveyed while the team visited 100% of the 730 households in the town. The conversations focused on leadership and what people wanted to see improved in the town. Over half of the respondents considered themselves a community leader (10% of those said they had no opportunities to lead). The most significant area of interest for improvement was activities for youth.
Each Leadership Eatonville participant will select a specific community initiative – existing or new – to work on using the principles and practical tips learned in the sessions. The workshop series is free for Eatonville residents; however, non-residents may apply and will be included as space allows.
The workshop series is held every other Thursday evening between August 10 and October 19 from 6:30-9 p.m. in the Denton Johnson Community Center. Graduates of the program will be eligible for additional one-on-one coaching sessions to help them attract investment in the initiative on which they are working. For more information, contact Brandy Hannah, Community Development Coordinator at (973) 979-8932.