We rely on the police to help keep our neighborhoods safe, and in South Bend, police have an ally in that effort.
There is a non-profit group that is dedicated to making neighborhoods better. It's called the Neighborhood Resources Corporation.
The NRC works exclusively for neighborhood organizations in the City of South Bend. Its goal is to make neighborhoods stronger and more vibrant. And, of course, places where residents feel more secure.
The Neighborhood Resources Corporation has been around since 1993. Its aim is to improve South Bend neighborhoods by helping establish, and working with, various neighborhood associations.
“The importance of neighborhood associations is that you're much stronger in a group and you can work together to improve the quality of life in your neighborhood and advocate for things that are important for your neighborhood,” says Diana Hess the Executive Director.
The NRC offers a variety of programs, including an eight week Leadership Academy for Neighborhood Association Members.
“One gal has bought a couple of vacant lots in her neighborhood,” says Hess. “She is now seeking to put something there for youth. She's also now participating in a youth engagement committee that we have. We have someone else who spearheaded a neighborhood clean-up after he graduated from the academy. And another woman who is interested in a weekend project which would be a city-wide neighborhood clean-up if you will.”
Hess says efforts like that, help reduce neighborhood crime.
“Because then they're more vigilant, they are out, they are cleaning the neighborhood,” says Hess. “So vacant lots which can sometimes become a real haven for drug deals or inappropriate behavior, those get cleaned up.”
Earlier this summer, we told you about the NRC's efforts to bring an Armadillo Surveillance Vehicle to South Bend to help crack down on nuisance properties that often breed crime.
Meantime, the NRC is holding its first fundraiser, called Tapas and Tango, next Saturday night, September 15, at LangLab on South High Street
“We are hoping people come to support NRC but also to learn who we are and what we do,” says Naomi Penney the Board President. “Part of that is to partner with other organizations that are working to build a stronger South Bend at the neighborhood level. One of the ways we're doing that is by partnering with LangLab where we are going to have this event. LanLab also builds community--they do it through the arts.”
There will be dancing and a Tapas menu catered by Don Quixote's of Valparaiso.
“So if you wanted to visit and have some wonderful Tapas and haven't had a chance, now's your opportunity,” says Penney. “We will have dance performances and dance instruction by local dance teachers. There will be a silent auction. We are showcasing local artists and local small businesses and hoping people will patronize these businesses that have been so thoughtful in helping us with their donations.”
Tapas and tango takes place from 6 to 11 P.M. At the LangLab, 1302 High Street in South Bend, just across the river from the South Bend Farmer's Market.
There will be a gallery exhibit, cash bar, and for Irish Fans, a Sports Bar room to watch the Notre Dame-Michigan State game, too.
Tickets are $30 or $50 per couple.