Engage Columbus great way to help residents

One sign of a community’s health is how active its residents are in local events and organizations. It’s good to see the Heritage Fund — The Community Foundation of Columbus foster that idea with the launching of Engage Columbus.

The new, free program, which begins Monday, is a three-year pilot operated by the Heritage Fund. It is designed to encourage residents to find more ways to bring residents — from newcomers to lifelong natives — together with people and organizations. The idea is rooted in the results of the 2004 and 2011 Heritage Fund Welcoming Community surveys, which showed residents were having trouble getting connected with groups and resources.

Survey respondents indicated they did not know where to go for answers. A review of area organizations showed they could be helpful but probably were not the best resource to answer all of a person’s questions.

The community did not have a one-stop place to answer all the questions. Now it does: Engage Columbus.

People looking to become engaged can go to the program’s office at 431 Sixth St., conveniently located behind Heritage Fund in a former carriage house.

One important aspect of the program is that it will have a personal approach. Leah Retrum was hired as the community navigator for Engage Columbus. Her job is to make people feel welcomed and connect them to resources cultivated by relationships with Heritage Fund. The office also will be staffed by AmeriCorps Volunteer Resource Manager Pamela Weiss and some volunteers, who will work with clients.

Engage Columbus should make it easier for residents to become active in all the community has to offer. Residents said that’s what they wanted and Heritage Fund delivered a way to meet that desire.

The next step is yours.

The benefits for you and the community are immense.

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Here’s how to contact Engage Columbus:

Call 812-375-0708.

In person at 431 Sixth St.

Email Leah Retrum at [email protected] or AmeriCorps member Pamela Weiss at [email protected].

Online information: engagecolumbus.com.

Office hours: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday.