By Kristin Boza
BAPA welcomes Davia Douglas to the team as our Community Relations Director. Douglas’ extensive professional experience in community outreach, plus her love of Beverly/Morgan Park, makes her an excellent addition to the BAPA staff.
Born and raised in Chicago, Douglas grew up in Lincoln Park and Marquette Park before moving to Nashville for a few years as an adult. She and her daughter, Alani, moved back home to Chicago in 2018 and chose to live in Beverly/Morgan Park. The pair quickly fell in love with the neighborhood, and Douglas settled into a job at the Community Economic Development Association (CEDA), a not-for-profit organization that helps low-income households in a variety of ways.
Douglas’ work with CEDA was to assist people applying for help with gas and electric bills. She began in the call center and moved into quality assurance and compliance, then to managing partner sites. “Then, someone thought to use the fact that I talk a lot as a skill and transitioned me to creating an outreach team,” Douglas said. “In community outreach, I was able to revitalize CEDA’s conversations with the communities they assist and host neighborhood events.” This work translated to a positive impact, including increased aid applications and a communication and marketing plan to lead people to CEDA for help and resources.
After working for CEDA, Douglas moved on to the Community Counseling Centers of Chicago to focus on behavioral health, but she missed the face-to-face contact with the community. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, Douglas decided to homeschool her daughter, and put all of her effort and time into ensuring that Alani received a stellar and well-rounded education. Homeschooling gave Douglas the opportunity to dive deep into all that Beverly/Morgan Park has to offer.
“Alani has participated in theater at Munroe Park, gymnastics and swimming at Ridge Park, volleyball at Mt. Greenwood Park, the summer program at the Beverly Arts Center, and of course the extensive library programming,” Douglas said. “These organizations made homeschooling possible!”
As life with the pandemic began to inch closer to normal, Douglas logged on to BAPA’s website to do some research into the local schools to determine Alani’s next steps. “BAPA’s school section of their website was so helpful proving information about the options in our community,” she said. Alani now attends Kellogg School.
Douglas noticed a job opening at BAPA was immediately interested, since the position was so similar to the work she did at CEDA. When speaking with BAPA Executive Director Mary Jo Viero, it quickly became apparent that Douglas has the skills and drive to lead in the community relations role.
“I have all these skills to help BAPA and I’m so excited to do so,” Douglas said. “I plan to build a robust volunteer program to support BAPA events and continue to connect people to small businesses so everyone can shop as locally as possible. BAPA is a foundational link for our community members to help them find resources and connect with one another, and BAPA serves as a place for them to be heard. I’m happy to work with everyone here to create a better community for us all.”