June 2018 Neighbor Spotlight Estella Bell

June 2018 Neighbor Spotlight Estella Bell

What is the name of your neighborhood?

East Durham

How long have you lived in your neighborhood?

Three years

Tell us about your neighborhood.

There are a lot of things going on in the neighborhood with a lot of opportunities for outreach.  However, it’s important to pick your battles because some people don’t want to see you do positive things.  For example, one person kept calling animal services on my dog, despite me being right with my dog.  I learned that sometimes it is better to walk away from some of the conflicts.  

I use my house as an outreach space and I will share food with people who are walking by.  I also do a lot of networking to share information. Before I moved to this neighborhood, I didn’t know about many of the resources myself.

What successes have your neighborhood and community had?

I primarily reach out to the kids in the neighborhood.  I share information, and hand out freeze pops and snacks.  I tell them about play streets and other resources that can have a positive impact.  They knock on my door and I encourage them, since they are our tomorrow.

Ambassador Cathedral also does a lot for the neighborhood, including giving out food and clothes and vacation bible school.  Finally, I received a grant through the city to provide free sewing classes and 15-20 people have attended and even more expressed interest.  It is very powerful and we are still moving. I enjoyed it in school and I am doing this program since schools don’t have it anymore.

What are some concerns that you still have in your neighborhood?

Some of my concerns include drugs and constant fighting leading to the police showing up at nearby neighbors’ houses.  There are also a lot of houses that people live in that need repairs, but many of the people have too much pride and don’t ask for help.  However, there are resources that can help. When I used to live on Mallard Street, I didn’t know about all of the resources.

What advice would you give to other community members?

Get involved!!!  Find out what’s going on in your neighborhood.  If you see someone who needs help, how can you empower and help them.  We should all follow each one teach one. It spreads if we support each other.

Do you have any upcoming opportunities for other people to get involved?

  • The free sewing classes I lead are Thursdays and Saturdays.  I also often have extra food in my house that people can call me about if they need help.  
  • I am also involved in:
    • The Inside Outside Alliance that focuses on supporting people who are in jail
    • Real Durham that supports families (they helped me get two free pairs of glasses and helped with my light bill)
    • Communities in Partnership (CIP) that hosts a potluck at Holton every 3rd Tuesday at 6:30
    • PAC1 that hosts a monthly meeting for District 1 at Holton at 9:30 AM every 3rd Saturday.

To get involved in sewing or learn about any of the other resources, my number is 919-519-9393.  

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