It was a great day for a cookout – and to bring communities together.
The sun was shining and the scent of hamburgers, popcorn and other goodies filled the air as LEAP Community Day BBQs took place Friday afternoon at LEAP’s four sites: Augusta Lewis Troup School, Wexler-Grant Community School, Farnam Courts Community Center and Roberto Clemente Leadership Academy.
The cookouts, supported by United Way of Greater New Haven, aimed to help bring neighborhoods together for some family friendly summer fun.
Events that allow residents to interact with each other are essential in bolstering a sense of community, said New Haven Alderman Frank Douglass Jr. of Ward 2, who stopped by the Troup barbecue.
“We gotta keep it up, have more events,” he said. There is a growing sense of community in the school’s neighborhood: “It’s starting to get stronger,” he said, and he has heard of several other block party-type events in the works.
The idea to hold the LEAP barbecues sprang from a conversation last month that took place at United Way’s James Street office, where various community leaders discussed ways to address violence in New Haven by fostering a stronger sense of community. LEAP Executive Director Esther Massie had previously held a community-wide meeting about youth violence last year, and last month’s discussion was part of her and United Way of Greater New Haven CEO Jack Healy’s effort to continue the dialogue.
Two of the sites where the cookouts took place, Augusta Lewis Troup School and Wexler-Grant Community School, are schools that participate in United Way's Boost! program.