Our 2019 Haile Fellows are at the halfway mark of their six-month Fellowship.
The trio—Kyle, Asa, and Brian—are the first to experience a new Haile Fellowship structure. After four years of awarding a year-long civic sabbatical to two highly-motivated Greater Cincinnati residents, we switched it up and engaged three Fellows to work together to hone their leadership skills; learn from notable thought leaders; and expand their connections across sectors while tackling a vexing community challenge: How do you preserve the spirit of a changing neighborhood?
Read on to catch a small glimpse of where the past few months have taken our Fellows:
Month 1: Deep conversations with community advocates, neighborhood leaders, market friends, and each other
In March, the Fellows listened, processed, swirled, digested and connected dots. Together, they experienced moments of being overwhelmed, of ah-has, frustration, joy and inspiration.
Month 2: Behind the lens and through the eyes of Findlay Market visitors
In April, the Fellows prototyped a Findlay Market photo observation book and invited visitors of Findlay Market to answer prompts and share their perspective of the market from their own eyes. The images captured were incredible and helped the Fellows see the neighborhood with new eyes.
Month 3: At the dinner table with Over-the-Rhine families
In May, having determined a project goal—ensure that all families in the neighborhood feel like Findlay Market and the surrounding area belong to them—the Fellows hosted the first Findlay Family Fun Force Dinner. Thirteen Over-the-Rhine families gathered under the Findlay Market farm shed for an evening of food, fun, and feedback. The conversations shared with residents gave the Fellows a strong sense of what it means to belong. Here’s what they heard:
“To belong means being connected.”
“To belong means to be accepted for who you are; respected. To be able to share a smile and handshake with new friends you may meet”
“To belong means to believe in yourself when no one is looking, to have a place where someone knows you for you, and to know yourself.”
“To belong means to have a place to be yourself with others and feel good.”
Asa shared how amazing it was to “see people naturally act on their desire to connect based on their passion for the market.” Brian observed one longtime Over-the-Rhine resident share with another neighbor that “she had lived in the neighborhood for 15 years and talked with people [over dinner] that she had never met before.
We can’t wait to see where the next three months of this journey take the Fellows next. We invite you to join in the conversation. What are your thoughts? What does it mean to belong? Let us know.