By Susan Flood, BAPA Executive Director
I have just completed my first 100 days as Executive Director of BAPA, and, I have to tell you, I am amazed by what this organization and its community of volunteers accomplishes.
I can’t begin to count the number of times that people ask me, “What does BAPA do?” BAPA does so much, it’s hard to answer that question when I’m asked. I’m glad to get the question in these early days, even when I’m shopping at County Fair or having dinner at Open Outcry or rushing to make it to a hair appointment at Everything’s Relative, but my preferred response is “how much time do you have?”
Now that I have 100 days in on the job (or should I call it a mission?), I think the focus of BAPA is the amazing effect our events have on our community – like the recent Home Tour and Ridge Run; our meetings – like our recent On The Table discussion of proactive housing preservation; and the community Clean and Green where groups worked at locations all over the neighborhood to clear away the grubby winter debris and let the promise if spring plantings shine through.
BAPA’s brings people together for community-buildings, gather groups of experts and “idea” people to take a hard look at small problems that could become big problems and mobilize the people and resources to implement those solutions. We put important tools into people’s hands, and put them to work on a task that will makes our community stronger today, and maintains the often forgotten priority of how this will affect our future.
I didn’t have to look hard to see how this community is transformed when BAPA rallies people around an event or a cause. This was another amazing – and heartwarming – 100 days of discovery. You see, BAPA is operated by a very small staff of four dynamic people who understand that BAPA cannot accomplish what it does without the commitment of hundreds of volunteers and even more donors.
This was my first time as a “BAPA insider” for the Home Tour and Ridge Run. I know “amazing” is the theme of this column, but “amazing” doesn’t come close to capturing the extent of how well planned, managed and presented these events are. Nearly 150 volunteers make the Home Tour happen. Nearly 200 are needed for the Ridge Run. When you see those Love Where You Love t-shirts all over the neighborhood, those people are BAPA volunteers – please say “Thanks.”
BAPA’s Education Committee has liaisons in every public school to stay aware of school needs and issues, recognize students and staff for their achievement and provide resources.
BAPA’s Safety Committee is working with important information gathered in our recent safety survey and from the police who supported the community-wide safety meeting held last fall.
BAPA staff works every day on issues that range from beautification through Openlands grants and Weeding Wednesdays to keeping neighbors informed through The Villager and weekly enews, to partnering with area organizations, officials and City departments to make sure Beverly/Morgan Park gets its fair share of resources and opportunities.
What does BAPA do?
BAPA forges the connections that make us neighbors and friends, fights to preserve the uniquely outstanding architecture that defines the character of our community, provides one-on-one assistance when neighbors are having problems as well as “muscle” when bigger problems need to be tackled.
What Does BAPA do? BAPA brings about the change we want to see..