When I first joined the Freret Neighborhood Center as an intern, my expectation were that I was joining an organizational that primarily focuses on housing issues for residents of the surround area and after school activities for underprivileged children. However, once I began my work with the FNC, I learned a lot more about the organization itself, and the extent of services they offered.
One way I found this out was by logging on to the two Freret Neighborhood Center websites along with their Facebook page. The first webpage, http://www.nhsnola.org, is the FNC’s main website. This website is more externally based, meaning its target audience is most likely the general public, or those wanting to learn more about the organization. The site displays the information on the FNC’s history and background, mission and goals, population served, structure and staffing, and funding. Below is a tidbit of what you will find on the website.
The Freret Neighborhood Center was opened in 2007 to revitalize the neighborhood and organize community capacity. The center serves as a space for the community to gather and for the fostering of leadership development in the Freret and Milan neighborhoods.
Everything that the Freret Neighborhood Center does is informed, designed, and implemented by residents. Each of FNC’s programs has a base of leaders who guide the program, volunteers who help to execute program activities and many more residents who participate.
The Freret Neighborhood Center trains neighbors to develop leadership and decision-making skills and carry out essential community organizing tasks: door-to-door, phone outreach and flyers.
The Freret Neighborhood Center has a comprehensive approach to neighborhood development.
The FNC believes that the interconnectedness of factors contributing to neighborhood distress is too-often neglected within the community development field, where the tendency is often to segregate issues into separate areas.
The Freret Neighborhood Center has a strategic planning process.
The FNC records community needs and expectations through the organization’s Resident Satisfaction Surveys.
The FNC sees evaluation as a continuing process and a crucial guideline for action.
In addition to this basic information, the Freret Neighborhood Center’s website also includes tabs that leads the visitor to categorized information on the more specific functions of the organization. These tabs include, “Revitalizing Community,” “Engaging Youth,” “Connecting Seniors,” “Resource Center,” and the “Freret-Milan Property Campaign.” Each of these tabs have more written information about each of the services the FNC offers.
Along with the Freret Neighborhood Center’s main website, the organization also has a second website that serves a more internal function. By internal, this means all stakeholders (all active employers, guests, and potential guests) of the FNC. This webpage—named the Freret Neighborhood Center Resource Page and located at https://sites.google.com/site/fncnola/—can be accessed from the organization’s main website by clicking the link under the tab “Resource Center,” but can also be accessed from any of the FNC’s main computers at the center’s location. This page offers a monthly schedule of the center’s events, the center’s hours of operation, links to various email exchange websites and reputable search engines, and most importantly, tabs at the top of the page which lead users to helpful links that maximizes their use of the Freret Neighborhood Center’s resources and services.
As I have come to learn while at the Freret Neighborhood Center, its Resource Center is one of the most important services offered to its public. Through our Resource Center, the FNC works one-on-one with neighbors to learn the basics about computers, including how to set up an email account, how to create and save a document like a letter or a resume, how to pay bills online, how to apply for benefits, like unemployment or social security. The Resource Center also offers resume workshops, job search assistance, and free internet and wireless services. Additionally, fax & copy services to people who live in the Freret area is offered. As it states on the website, “The Resource Center is open on Tuesdays, Thursdays from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM and Saturdays, from 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM.”
Lastly, The Freret Neighborhood Center also owns a Facebook page, which I think is extremely positive and displays and symbolizes how, despite being a non-profit, the organization tries to stay current with the times in order to attract everyone within their target market. In other words, the people at the FCN know that many of their potential cliental are younger kids in school who use social networking outlets such as Facebook, and they attempt to cater to them despite their limited resources in being a non for profit. In fact, one of my jobs in the next few months is to create and run a Twitter page for the Freret Neighborhood Center!
Having resources available to the public is why the Freret Neighborhood Center is in existence, and its websites are clear, easy to find and navigate, portrayals of everything it stands for and offers.